Sam Tevi was an unmitigated disaster for the LA Chargers in 2020. Not the type of year a player envisions having going into their free agency. In Tevi’s contract year he earned one of the worst grades, according to Pro Football Focus (PFF), with a 52.9.
That wasn’t even his worst season. That honor goes to his second year in the league. So, he’ll have a lot of suitors out there, *insert eye roll emoji*.
But, that’s a great thing for the Chargers. Curious thing to say, I know, but the truth of the matter is the Chargers need a swing tackle. Most likely this offseason, whether it’s in free agency or the draft, the Chargers are planning on drafting their left tackle of the future. While everyone will be expecting this guy to play every game of his career the fact is there’s a very good chance, he misses some time during his career.
Add in the fact that Bryan Bulaga is just about 60 years old and there is an ever-increasing chance that he’s going to miss some time too. Okay, so Bulaga’s only 31 but it just seems like he’s been in the NFL for ages. He is coming off the worst season of his career, not counting his rookie year, with a 61.6 PFF grade.
Bulaga’s average grade is just under 70 for his career. During his 11-year career, there have only 4 games he hasn’t started. He averages playing 12.5 games a year. So, if he’s playing, he’s starting. He did miss 2013 with a torn ACL that he got in a scrimmage.
Thus, the need for a player who can play either left or right tackle in a pinch.
Current swing tackle options on the LA Chargers:
As it currently stands the competition for the starting left tackle, or swing tackle spot are Trey Pipkins III, Storm Norton, Tyree St. Louis and Matt Feiler. It’s debatable whether Feiler and St. Louis are tackles or guards. They’re probably better suited for the guard position. So, that leaves Pipkins and Norton as the main competition. Neither one of those guys exactly lit the league on fire with their play.
NFL roster spots are a premium. Players that can play multiple positions for the team are valuable. They’re even more valuable if they can play multiple positions at a high level. While Pipkins, Norton and Tevi are not NFL starting-level quality tackles, they can be very good as a backup.
Preferably, Tevi wins the swing tackle position. Allowing GM Tom Telesco and Brandon Staley to carry a minimum of eight offensive linemen: the 5 starters, swing tackle, backup guard and center. By not having to carry a backup left and right tackle, the team can carry an extra player at another position.
Tevi wasn’t good in 2020 but then it was a unique year all around. Nobody would have expected Bulaga or Trai Turner to be terrible. Signing Tevi to be the team’s swing tackle is a good move for the organization. Nobody ever talks about the backup tackle until he’s forced into playing. Tevi can be a good backup tackle for the LA Chargers.