It did not take long for the LA Chargers to suffer the team's first season-ending injury in 2023. Mike Williams was awkwardly tackled in the second half of Week 3's game against the Minnesota Vikings, tearing his ACL and missing the rest of what is probably his last season in LA in the process.
The Chargers have a deeper WR room than last season but there still are compelling reasons to pursue wide receiver help. Joshua Palmer hasn't been Mr. Consistent and Quentin Johnston doesn't seem totally ready for a much bigger role in the offense. Now, the Bolts are one more injury away from looking like last season's WR room.
Thus, it seems logical that the team would explore the trade market and there was rumored interest in disgruntled receiver Chase Claypool, who checked multiple boxes for the Bolts. However, at the end of the day, the Chargers ultimately did not make any kind of move for Claypool, who instead is heading to the Miami Dolphins.
Chargers pass on Chase Claypool, bet on current wide receiver room
Chargers general manager Tom Telesco has historically avoided making in-season trades for talent. He has no problem trading players like J.C. Jackson and taking a dead cap hit to get him out of LA but he has always been hesitant in trading draft capital for in-season help.
There definitely are some red flags with Claypool that likely turned the Chargers away. He did not handle his situation in Chicago graciously and the last thing the Bolts want is another distraction. That being said, Chicago is not a well-run ship and just because Claypool was an issue there does not mean he would be an issue in LA (or Miami, for that matter).
It was not that long ago that Claypool started his NFL career with back-to-back 800-yard seasons. Sure, his production has waned in recent years but he has also been stuck with horrible quarterback and offensive play. Justin Herbert and the Chargers would have been his best offensive team by far.
Now, it is the Dolphins and fans will be able to see how he plays on a great offense. There is a chance that Chargers fans quickly regret the team not pursuing him more seriously in the first place.
If the main reason why the Bolts didn't want Claypool was the off-the-field concerns then fine, it is hard to argue that from an outsider's perspective. But if Telesco is refusing to make a deal simply to hold onto late-round capital then it is a massive mistake. The Dolphins didn't trade much of anything to get Claypool and the Chargers have extra picks and swaps thanks to the Dustin Hopkins and Jackson trades.
Plus, the Chargers have no problem using a seventh-round pick on a third quarterback who never had a real chance of making the active roster. Or using a seventh-round pick on a fullback who is going to get cut from the team after one year.
But trading a late-round pick for in-season help? That is simply asking too much for the Chargers. Hopefully, Telesco will break that trend in some capacity.