3. David Njoku is young and gives the LA Chargers a potential future option
This is why I really like the gamble of trading for David Njoku. Not only is Njoku going to be cheap to acquire, not only does he have the potential to laterally replace Henry, but he also potentially gives the Chargers a long-term solution to losing Hunter Henry.
There are two other routes that the team can take. First, the Chargers can draft a tight end in the first two rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft to instantly replace Henry and be the long-term option. While possible, the Chargers would be gambling if they hoped that a late-round pick could replace Henry this season.
And no, I did not forget about Donald Parham, he just is not a good enough blocker to be an every-snap tight end in my opinion.
The other route is to get an established guy like Zach Ertz or Kyle Rudolph. Now, that could work for 2021, but both guys are on the way down in their careers and they do not present a multi-year solution. They simply would be pushing the need off a year.
Njoku also could just push the need off for one year if he does not pan out or re-sign with the team. However, there is also the potential of Njoku being the long-term option for the LA Chargers if he has a good 2021 season.
Njoku turns 25 this September. He is two years younger than Hunter Henry. If all goes as planned, the Chargers could sign Njoku to a smaller four-year contract next offseason that pays him through his age 29. The Chargers would be getting his prime years, would get it for cheaper and could get similar output that Henry would provide.
The tight end market is deeper next offseason and even if Njoku has a good year in 2021 he won’t warrant the kind of money that Henry will get in the thin class this offseason.
It is a risk but is a risk that won’t cost much for the LA Chargers to try and could have a huge pay-off.