One of the less talked about needs on the LA Chargers this offseason is the tight end position. The Bolts signed Jared Cook to a one-year stopgap contract and with his age and regression down the stretch, it seems likely that the team may try and move on from him.
The only tight end locked into the roster is second-year tight end Tre' McKitty, who proved that he can already be an elite blocking tight end but needs to show more to be a trusted option in the passing game. Donald Parham is an ERFA, so the Chargers can bring him back on the league minimum, but those two alone are not enough. Stephen Anderson is a free agent and very well could pursue a bigger role elsewhere.
There are some exciting possibilities on the free-agent market at tight end but the market itself is too inflated. David Njoku was someone who really seemed to fit in LA but after reports that the Cleveland Browns are willing to pay him $10 million+ for year, he no longer seems like a target.
That unfortunately seems to be the reality with the other tight end targets as well. The Panthers signed Ian Thomas to a three-year extension worth $16.5 million. Thomas had 188 receiving yards last season. If he is getting $5.5 million per year then the bigger names will all creep towards that $10 million mark.
Thus, the LA Chargers may have to turn to the 2022 NFL Draft for tight end help.
The Chargers drafted a tight end in McKitty last year and the team could very well double-down with another tight end selection this year. While it likely won't be one of the first three picks the team makes, there are still some solid options that the Bolts could consider to fill what they need in the tight end room.
Let's explore three potential options, all of which should theoretically be present in different rounds.