The Athletic’s Daniel Popper made headlines when he suggested that there is a chance the Chargers could trade Desmond King at some point in the offseason. The rumors don’t necessarily come as a total surprise. King is coming up on the last year of his deal after a generally poor performance last season. The team also signed Chris Harris, who is more than likely going to play slot cornerback in 2020.
If Harris is playing in the slot, that obviously leaves questions about what King’s role is in 2020. In addition to that, the team may not have an intention to re-sign him in 2021 with so many other free-agent decisions to already make. Plus, King seemed to have been benched for non-football reasons last year.
The LA Chargers should keep King to play safety.
Adrian Phillips signed with the Patriots in free agency on a two-year deal. While 2019 obviously didn’t go as planned after Derwin James and him both got injured very early on, everyone remembers how much of a dynamic duo they were in 2018. It’s not particularly easy to replace the Phillips part of that duo.
The Chargers have a few options for who could start at safety. Rayshawn Jenkins played a lot last year due to the number of injuries that piled up. Anthony Lynn and the coaching staff seem to like him a lot, but his coverage numbers leave a lot to be desired.
Another possibility is Nasir Adderley, who should be ready to go in 2020. While there should still be faith in Adderley in the long term, he still hasn’t taken a regular-season snap and is unproven.
It’s not a crazy idea to put King at safety. He’s a great tackler in space and is able to get to the quarterback. In a way, he could be the wild card of the defense. Moving King around to where he’s needed instead of having him locked in the slot could really be a nice change of pace for him and allow him to use his physicality more often.
In a contract year, he’s motivated to have a great year and do whatever he can on the team to boost his value. After a poor year in the slot, a more varied role might fit him and the team.