For the season offseason in a row, the LA Chargers had to deal with a breakout linebacker on the free-agent market. In 2021 the team let Kyzir White walk in free agency after a career year with Drue Tranquill waiting in the wings.
Tranquill went on to have a career year himself in 2022, proving the Chargers right for putting faith in him. Despite his career year, though, the Chargers decided to do the exact same thing as Tranquill signed a one-year, $3 million deal (with incentives) with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chargers signed veteran Eric Kendricks to replace Tranquill and it was clear by the signing itself and by Brandon Staley's comments that the team liked Kendricks more. Kendricks signed before Tranquill did and is making over twice as much this season.
While Kendricks is a former All-Pro, there were still some harsh critics of the signing over the offseason. An anonymous NFL executive slammed the signing because of Kendricks' age and how that may make him more injury-prone. Well, in classic Chargers fashion, that may already be true as Kendricks missed Wednesday's practice ahead of Week 2.
Eric Kendricks signing may already be coming back to bite the Chargers
The exact situation or severity of any potential injury is currently unknown. Brandon Staley, in the past, has been a proponent of giving veteran players scheduled off days. Kendricks certainly falls into the veteran category and could be benefitting from that.
If there is any substantial injury then the Chargers are going to be in trouble. Rookie Daiyan Henley missed the first week of the season and Kenneth Murray played arguably the worst game of his career in Week 1. That is saying something. The linebacker position could become a huge hole for the Bolts.
Even if Kendricks is fine and does play in Week 2, the Chargers are going to need more out of him. Kendricks left a lot to be desired in Week 1 against the Dolphins. He did not play terribly, but he certainly did not play up to his price tag.
Kendricks signed for the fifth-highest average annual salary among linebackers this past offseason. Granted, it was a short-term deal so that number is inflated, but he did not play like someone who should be paid that much in Week 1.
Chargers fans now just have to cross their fingers and hope that Kendricks is not only healthy but that Week 1 was just a blip in what will be a good season.