Why the LA Chargers HAVE to bring in external help at safety


Derwin James is injured and the LA Chargers might be in the safety market.

Derwin James injured his meniscus during the LA Chargers‘ practice on Sunday and is going to miss some time. According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, James will miss four weeks if James needs a meniscus trim. If he needs a full replacement, he will likely miss most, if not all, of the season.

At the time of writing this it still has not been revealed how much time James is going to miss. If he misses just four weeks then the team should be fine with the talent on the roster. However, if it is anything more than that then the Chargers HAVE to bring in external help at the safety position.

The first name that instantly started to be attached to the Chargers was Earl Thomas. However, head coach Anthony Lynn told reporters on Monday that the team was not likely to pursue Thomas. He was quite straightforward about it as well.

Anthony Lynn defiantly says the #Chargers are not inquiring about Earl Thomas: "Since you guys are constantly telling me how stacked my secondary is, why the hell would I be looking anywhere else?"

— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) August 31, 2020

While Thomas might not be on the Chargers’ radar, someone HAS to be. In fact, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported that the team has a mutual interest with former Charger Jahleel Addae. Addae may be no Earl Thomas, but he has familiarity with the system and the coaching staff.

We even kicked the tires about the team potentially bringing in Logan Ryan, who has played cornerback his entire NFL career but is insisting that he is a safety and has spent time playing snaps at safety and in the box — bringing the same kind of versatility that James does.

Unfortunately, Ryan signed a one-year deal with the New York Giants shortly after we explored that possibility.

No matter who it is — Thomas, Addae or Uncle Rico — one thing is true:

The LA Chargers NEED external help

Look: in terms of the starting strong safety, the Chargers are probably going to be fine. Lynn named Rayshawn Jenkins, who played some strong safety last season, and Desmond King, who Lynn said he never viewed as a cornerback anyway, as potential replacement options.

A starting safety duo of Jenkins and Nasir Adderley is not the end of the world, even if Adderley is inexperienced at the NFL level. Both guys are talented and the defense as a whole is solid enough where they will be just fine.

Obviously, if they bring in someone such as Thomas or Ryan that has experience then they will be even better.

That is not the point though; the starting safeties are not a huge concern. It is the depth. Ask yourself this: if one of Jenkins or Adderley gets hurt (which, let’s be honest, it is football, it probably will happen) then who is backing up?

Sure, we have King, but say goodbye to him being a tool for the team to use at slot corner. Then who? Alohi Gilman? He is not ready to be an every-down NFL safety and should stick to only being a primary special teamer in 2020.

Even if it is just Addae, he at least gives the team someone that they are familiar with that they know won’t be completely terrible if they need him to take up a bigger role. Experience and familiarity are huge in a potential addition considering how inexperienced Adderley is.

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So yes, Anthony Lynn is right, we have been touting the LA Chargers secondary as deep. However, this is not a simple depth piece the team has lost. It is the FACE of that secondary. They need some help.