Chargers Free Agency

LA Chargers: Free-agent offensive linemen to avoid this offseason

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 25: Alejandro Villanueva #78 of the Pittsburgh Steelers plays against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on October 25, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 25: Alejandro Villanueva #78 of the Pittsburgh Steelers plays against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on October 25, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
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(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) – LA Chargers

Free-agent offensive linemen the LA Chargers should avoid: Alex Mack

It is easy to talk yourself into Alex Mack when you look at his numbers on paper. Mack is a six-time Pro Bowl and was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-2010 team. He has been nothing short of consistent in his career as well, playing in 16 games in 10 of his 12 seasons. He played 14 games in 2020 and missed 11 games in 2014.

A consistent, veteran center who could mesh well with Justin Herbert. Doesn’t that sound great?

No. Pump the breaks. This is exactly the problem I have with free-agent offensive linemen. We talk ourselves into these older players, ignore the process of building a line in the draft and wind up with mediocre veterans and the same problem every single offseason.

We saw it with Bulaga, we saw it with Turner, we saw it with Mike Pouncey. Mack is really old in football years as well as he will turn 36 in November of next season.

He is obviously getting worse over time as well. I typically take these grades with a grain of salt, but Pro Football Focus gave Mack a 65.6 overall blocking grade in 2020. Compare that to just three years ago, when he was given a 91.3 grade.

He’s old, he’s over the hill and he’s susceptible to injury. His contract would obviously be small, but the center position is so important I would much rather see the team draft a center and allow them to develop.

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