Why Kyzir White is the only player the Chargers cannot afford to lose this offseason
3. Kyzir White is the Chargers' most valuable pending free agent
Kyzir White is the Chargers' most valuable pending free agent when compared to others about to hit the market. When prioritizing which players need to be taken care of first, the discussion should automatically start with White, and then the debating should begin about the rest.
The 'big four' that are commonly regarded as the Chargers' top in-house priorities this offseason are Kyzir White, Mike Williams, Justin Jones, and Uchenna Nwosu. Despite the importance that each of these players bring to the team in their differing roles, none eclipse the value that is provided by Kyzir White.
Mike Williams is a talented, big-bodied wide-receiver, however has struggled with drops, route running capabilities, and his soft play in physical situations. Franchise tagging Williams could cost the team up to $19 million next year, whilst extending him could lock the team into a long-term contract that he underperforms. Given Justin Herbert's ability, there is no need to overpay for a flawed playmaker if it risks the team's ability to keep Kyzir White.
Justin Jones was the most consistent performer on the Chargers defensive line last season, however, that in itself does not mean a whole lot given how bad the unit was. Jones is a solid defensive tackle against the run, isn't great at collapsing the pocket in passing situations, and does have an unattractive injury history. Justin Jones is a good player as a whole, and I do want him back, however, Jones shouldn't be rewarded with a top-dollar contract and certainly shouldn't be prioritized over Kyzir White.
Uchenna Nwosu is similar to White in the sense that he clearly had a career year, and took a massive step under Staley's watch. However, I'd prioritize White over Nwosu for a few reasons. The Chargers have an elite pass rusher on the other side in Joey Bosa, have an in-house replacement in Chris Rumph, there are more pass rush options in the draft and free agency compared to linebackers, and the pass rush market is over-inflated right now.
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Being able to replace Nwosu should be easier than replacing White, and as a result, prioritizing an extension for Nwosu that risks White's future would be a mistake that the Chargers will regret.