Justin Herbert is going to dictate the kind of offseason that the LA Chargers have.
The LA Chargers‘ 2020 season is all-but over. While we will still be tuning it to watch Justin Herbert, with a 3-8 record and several tough losses under their belt it is getting harder and harder to watch the Bolts.
The focus now is on the upcoming offseason. The Chargers are going to have a high selection in the 2021 NFL Draft and absolutely have the foundation to be a successful team next season. They just need to make the right complementary moves (and find a new head coach while they are at it).
There is a lot of speculation already about what the Chargers’ plan is going to be next Spring and it should be quite clear right now that the decisions that Tom Telesco makes (if he is still the general manager) will be based upon one important factor.
Every decision that the LA Chargers make next offseason is going to be with Justin Herbert in mind. Herbert is having a historical season and absolutely has laid the groundwork for us to believe that with the right supporting cast in the future that he could win a Super Bowl. It is exciting times.
The Chargers’ recognize this and their number one priority this offseason should be to make his life easier, which is going to lead to several decisions that are fairly easy to predict now.
1. Re-signing Hunter Henry
This one is simple. Hunter Henry is playing pretty solid on the franchise tag this year and *knocks on wood* has not been hurt this season. That was always the question about Henry and thus far this season he has dispelled that sour taste.
He is a reliable target for Herbert and the Chargers’ goal should be to keep the familiar weapons around their star quarterback. They can use the draft in the mid-to-late rounds to draft depth (and blocking prowess) at the position. Henry needs to stay.
2. Several offensive line selections in the 2021 NFL Draft
Whether it be at tackle or in the interior, the LA Chargers need to add young offensive line depth in the draft to protect Herbert next season. The protection this season has been absolutely abysmal.
Penei Sewell is the dream target but the Chargers are not going to get high enough in the draft to select him. Regardless, I have already broken down why the team probably won’t draft an edge rusher in the first round and the most likely position then, in my opinion, becomes the offensive line — because of Herbert.
3. Impact the coaching search
Anthony Lynn has not been great this season and if the Chargers do move on from him then the number one factor in deciding a new coach is how they will help Justin Herbert.
Of course, the team could bring in a defensive-minded head coach and leave the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach to groom Herbert, but it still has an impact.
Pep Hamilton should stay in LA in some capacity. Perhaps he gets elevated in the coaching staff for the sake of Herbert, perhaps he stays as the quarterbacks coach. Either way, he is legitimately the only coach whose job is 100% safe this offseason and it is because of Herbert.
I would love to see the LA Chargers add defensive pieces in the draft and fully put together that side of the ball but the first priority has to be Justin Herbert. The defense will naturally get better with Derwin James and Drue Tranquill playing and the Chargers can live with a league-average defense.
What they can’t live with is Herbert losing his tight end and continuing to get pressured at an absurd rate. Improving that offensive line for the sake of Herbert’s health is far more important than turning a league-average defense into a borderline top-10 defense.