LA Chargers: Corey Linsley is a bold, but smart Telesco signing


What started off as a rather slow first day of free agency for the LA Chargers quickly picked up when the team signed All-Pro Center Corey Linsley:

The #Chargers are signing C Corey Linsley to a five-year, $62.5 million deal, sources tell me and @TomPelissero. He is the new highest-paid center in the league and will get $26 million over the first two years.

— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 15, 2021

Linsley became the highest paid center in the league with $12.5 million in average annual value. That’s a huge number, but it’s both aggressive and worth it. Dan Feeney was the second lowest graded center last season. Now the Chargers have the best center in the league.

The LA Chargers may have learned from another winning team.

I couldn’t help but think of the New Orleans Saints and the offensive line they had there, especially considering new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi. The Saints invested heavy capital into the interior line and built inside to outside with many of their offseason moves.

The Chargers also going out and grabbing OL Matt Feiler shows how committed they are to a similar strategy.

Linsley will make Feiler and other guards around him instantly better with defenses now having to account for a center who gave up just four pressures last season. Out of all the upgrades the team could’ve possibly had on the O-Line, they made the biggest one.

Going back to that contract, it’s actually a great deal for both sides as I see it. Linsley will get his $26 million guaranteed within the first two years of the deal, but the cap hits on the books are fairly low. Linsley’s cap hits don’t go higher than the $12.5 million AAV until 2023. In 2021 and 2022, he accounts for just $6.6M and $11.6M against the cap respectively.

That gives the Chargers more room to work with in 2021 free agency as well as next year. There’s also wiggle room for getting out of the contract in 2023 and 2024, should Linsley decline or suffer a major injury. While it’s pricier with ultimately more years on the deal, I like how it’s structured in comparison to some of the other O-Line deals the Chargers have dished out in the past.

Next. Grading Tom Telesco's first 2021 signings

How we look back on this deal will depend on Linsley’s play. Granted, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this is the best on paper Telesco signing of his Chargers’ tenure.