3 backup quarterbacks the Chargers may sign in free agency

The Los Angeles Chargers should bring an experienced , free agent quarterback to fill in for Justin Herbert if he suffers an in-season injury. Easton Stick is a free agent, and Max Duggan is not prepared for the role.

Los Angeles Chargers v Tennessee Titans
Los Angeles Chargers v Tennessee Titans / Johnnie Izquierdo/GettyImages

Jim Harbaugh is finalizing his coaching staff for the 2024 season, and this has been his number one priority. New safeties' coach Chris O' Leary is the most recent hire. It's also rumored that players such as Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, and Mike Williams could be cut or traded away to relieve the salary cap, which must be fixed before March 13.

The Chargers also need a backup quarterback. They should pursue an experienced QB2 since Max Duggan is not ready yet. The new backup has to be ready to play, especially since Herbert has been injured the last couple of years.

On the other hand. he should not be expensive. The franchise can't afford to pay lots of money to someone who would only play if needed, in view that the Chargers are $45 million over the cap.

3 free agent QBs that the Chargers can sign to be Justin Herbert's backup:

Ryan Tannehill

Tannehill is done in Tennessee after 5 years of ups and downs, and the emergence of rookie QB Will Levis. He led the Titans to two divisional titles and three playoff appearances in his first three seasons, including an AFC championship game where they started 10 points ahead at Kansas City.

However, Tannehill's long-term viability was questioned after he threw multiple interceptions in the Bengals' loss in the 2021 playoffs, and a couple of injuries affected his play last two seasons.

Tannehill is an experienced quarterback who would be ready to play if needed. According to Spotrac, he is worth $4.9 million per year, one of the highest for a QB2. Therefore, the Chargers would hardly sign him as the cap stands now (and a backup QB is not one of their most pressing needs). However, Jim Harbaugh and Joe Hortiz could make roster moves before the free agency period that might create enough space for Tannehill.

Easton Stick

Easton Stick was good filling in for Justin Herbert last season, considering he had never started an NFL game. However, his performance was overlooked due to the disastrous Raiders game, Staley's firing, and the belief that they would "tank". Stick exceeded 200 passing yards in every game he started. He also had a completion percentage of 65.3%, an average figure for an actual QB1. Although he had too many fumbles (5), Stick was an accurate passer and was only intercepted once.

Though now a free agent, the franchise could very well re-sign him. Not only did he show he could play, but he would be paid no more than $2 million per season, based on his past value and number of games played. Stick is also a running threat, as he showed both against the Bills and the Chiefs when he rushed for over 70 yards.

Tyler Huntley

Tyler Huntley's signing would make sense given the Joe Hortiz (former Ravens Director of Player Personnel) and Jim Harbaugh's Ravens familiarity. On the other hand, Huntley was under Greg Roman's offense when he started multiple games from 2021-2022 after Lamar Jackson got injured. Given his familiarity with dual-threat quarterbacks and running emphasis, Roman would want him to join the QB room. Though Huntley averages 172 passing yards in each of the games he has started (including playoffs), he averages 43 rushing yards per game.

Huntley has a 64.6% completion percentage in the regular season–an average number among starting quarterbacks–and has more touchdowns than interceptions. As Huntley only played a meaningless Week 18 game in 2023, he would not receive much more money in 2024 (his salary was $2.6 million in 2023). He would be within the Chargers' seemingly conservative 2024 budget.

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