Cuts are never easy for the players or franchise to make. Thomas Davis and Brandon Mebane were two important vets in terms of their stature on the LA Chargers, especially Mebane. Both of last year’s “surprise” releases ended up being the right moves. The Chargers drafted Kenneth Murray and signed Linval Joseph in replacing Davis and Mebane.
One of this year’s releases has to be Trai Turner. The right guard didn’t perform well last year after dealing with a groin injury. Even after he had fully rehabbed from the injury, he never looked like the same player we saw from 2015-2017 in Carolina. Turner looked a stepped slow and committed some bad penalties.
1. Justin Herbert has to be well protected
Forget the money on the Turner contract for a minute, which we’ll get to later. Turner was statistically the worst starter on the line last season. He scored a 34.8 on PFF’s grades last year. To understand how truly bad that is, he was ranked 79th out of 80 guards around the league.
Turner was the lowest rated pass blocker on the starting line. Out of all the offensive linemen on the team, the former Panther only was better as a pass blocker than Trey Pipkins and Tyree St. Louis. On an offensive line full of weak links, Turner was the weakest.
It’s hard to consider bringing him back for me when players like Cole Toner were outplaying him at the same spot. The Chargers need to be able to protect Justin Herbert better and Turner just can’t help with that in his current state.
The Chargers can go through the draft, free agency, or their own reserves to find a guard if they want. They won’t be able to find someone who’s as much of a liability as Trai was this season. He failed as a pass blocker and was somehow even worse as a run blocker. Aside from his contract, Turner was slow, in decline, and simply didn’t have good leverage.
If the goal is to protect Herbert and fix the offensive line, I just don’t see how this team can let Turner’s 2020 performance slide.