The LA Chargers should push hard for J.J. Watt after cap increase

The LA Chargers are going to have more money to spend this offseason as the NFL informed teams on Thursday that the salary-cap floor will be raised from $175 million to $180 million for the 2021 season.

The exact cap number has not yet been pinned down, but this $5 million raise in the cap’s floor is significant, especially for a team like the Chargers who are already in the green.

This extra money should convince Tom Telesco and the Bolts’ front office to push hard for recently-released future Hall of Famer, J.J. Watt. With the extra bit of cap space, the Chargers can afford to bid a bit higher than anyone else to bring another Watt to Los Angeles.

Why J.J. Watt is such a good fit on the LA Chargers:

While the LA Chargers might have to bid a bit higher to secure Watt, he is still not going to cost that much in a new salary. For comparison’s sake, Everson Griffen netted a one-year, $6 million deal coming off of a Pro Bowl season last offseason. He was one year older last offseason than Watt is now.

Watt will likely get more, but not much. A two-year, $15 million contract seems likely for Watt and is one the LA Chargers could certainly afford. With most of the guaranteed money in year one, the Chargers can remain flexible for 2022 if Watt disappoints.

Typically, and you know this if you are a frequent reader of Bolt Beat, I am totally against bringing in older veterans like Watt via free agency. It is absolutely part of the roster-building strategy, but over-relying on free agency and not addressing needs in the draft is bad for long-term roster building.

Just look at the offensive line.

This is different though. While Watt is not the same All-Pro player that he once was, he was still quietly one of the best pass rushers in the entire NFL. The proof is in the pudding.

Watt was double-teamed more than any other edge rusher in the league and was still among the best in pass rush win rate. Just imagine the things he could do on the LA Chargers. Nobody is going to double him with Joey Bosa on the other end and teams may not want to double-team Bosa as much as well.

This opens the door for both men to be even better, and under Brandon Staley, the potential of a Watt-Bosa tandem is extremely high. Watt is more naturally gifted than Melvin Ingram and this duo could be even better than the Bosa-Ingram duo, even at Watt’s age.

This also allows the Chargers to address other needs first in the 2021 NFL Draft, such as the offensive line and cornerback, before making a high-round edge rusher a priority next year. The Bolts need to inject youth into the secondary pronto and quite frankly, could afford an older edge rusher because of the impact of Bosa.

I was skeptical of the LA Chargers making a play for Bosa because of the potential cap hit and the other contracts that Tom Telesco has to navigate around this offseason.

But with a bit more money to spend, I like the Chargers’ chances of slightly outbidding the rest and luring Watt to LA.