The LA Chargers could get a value replacement for Derwin James in free agency.
*Update: NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported at 1:03 PDT that Logan Ryan signed a one-year contract with the New York Giants.
Fans of the LA Chargers know this feeling all too well — an immensely important player to the success of the team gets hurt before the season even begins. This year, as it was last year, it is Derwin James.
James suffered a meniscus injury during Sunday’s practice and is going to miss significant time. According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, the duration of time missed depends on the procedure that James has.
If James gets a meniscus trim he will miss around four weeks. A full repair and he will miss several months. Right now, at the time of writing this, it is still unclear which direction James will be forced to go.
James being out has led us to evaluate several different options for the LA Chargers, both in-house and out of house. The most prominent name that has been mentioned for an out of house solution is Earl Thomas, who was recently released by the Baltimore Ravens.
Thomas has familiarity with Gus Bradley and might not have as big of a market as we were initially led to believe. Our own Alex Insdorf did a great job in explaining why Thomas now makes sense for the Chargers.
He is not the only free agent that makes sense for the Bolts, though. The answer to the Chargers’ problems might be in free agency, and it could come via
safety Logan Ryan.
Why Logan Ryan could make sense for the LA Chargers:
Logan Ryan has been a cornerback his entire career but he has also always been a versatile defensive player. Ryan actually had his now-former agent inform teams that he views himself as a safety, not a corner.
What makes Ryan exciting is that he can provide the same kind of versatility that James did, albeit not at the same level. Ryan spent time out wide at cornerback but he also spent a lot of time both playing free safety, and more prominently, in the box. Who does that sound like?
While the Chargers have internal options in Rayshawn Jenkins, Nasir Adderley and Desmond King, they do not really have anyone that can produce that versatility. King would be the closest, but he is not someone who will thrive as much in the box.
Ryan was a contributor in all facets of the game. He finished last season with over 100 combined tackles, 4.5 sacks, four interceptions and four forced fumbles. He can essentially adopt exactly what James is going to be for the defense and do it at a 75-80 percent level.
Then once James returns Ryan can contribute as a swiss army knife that could help at the second outside corner position (which is needed) as well as helping King in the Adrian Phillips-type role on this defense.
It is an intriguing option considering Ryan does not have a lot of leverage. He had a career year last season but is still without a team with the season only two weeks away. This is a one-year flier waiting to happen and if any team is going to make the most of his skill set it is the LA Chargers.