3 Chargers free agents who may be forced into retirement

Buffalo Bills v Los Angeles Chargers
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Joshua Kelley

The Chargers' running game was awful in 2022 and the hope was with Kellen Moore calling the offense that the team would right the ship in 2023. Things were trending in that direction after Week 1 when Joshua Kelley and Austin Ekeler turned in two great games running the football.

That would end up being the peak of the 2023 season as far as running the ball is concerned as the Chargers went back to being one of the worst running teams in the sport. Kelley struggled immensely to establish himself while Ekeler was hurt early in the year and he could never gain real momentum once he returned.

There were certainly some bright spots for Kelley and moments where it looked like he would be the better between-the-tacklers runner for the team. But at the end of the day, Kelley was far too inconsistent and he never proved enough to the coaching staff to lock down a more consistent role.

It might seem a bit harsh to predict a fifth-year player to be forced into retirement but there is just so much good young running back talent in the league. As young as Kelley is, any team needing depth running backs is better off just drafting a late-round rookie rather than paying anything for Kelley.

Add in an extremely deep running back free-agent class and it is not hard to see how Kelley may get overlooked. He still may be able to secure a roster spot heading into training camp but it still seems more likely that he does not play another NFL snap.

After all, what team is going to be breaking down the door to sign a running back who has averaged 3.6 yards per carry in his career who has no real value in the passing game? No team.