Chargers lose Kyzir White to a painfully cheap contract

Minnesota Vikings v Los Angeles Chargers
Minnesota Vikings v Los Angeles Chargers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

After a breakout season with the LA Chargers in 2021, middle linebacker Kyzir White will take his talents elsewhere in 2022. White signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, officially ending his tenure with the team that drafted him.

The most painful thing about White leaving the team is not that the Chargers lost an impact player, it is the terms that White agreed to with the Eagles. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, White's deal with the Eagles is only worth "up to" $5 million this season.

That is an incredibly low price for someone who led the Chargers in tackles last season and was one of the best coverage linebackers in the sport. For many, this may bring back the nightmare of Adrian Phillips, who Tom Telesco let walk on a two-year, $6 million contract after a breakout year.

Another talented, versatile player leaves the Chargers on a super cheap deal. Like Phillips, White is in a great position to continue to thrive next season, rubbing it into the team that drafted him.

Why did the LA Chargers let Kyzir White walk for so cheap?

The main reason is that linebackers are not as important in Brandon Staley's defense. Staley's defense hinges on emptying the box and playing a lot of nickel and dime with a defensive line that can stop the run.

The moves the team has made this offseason have played into that logic. LA has completely reinvented the defensive line this season and made the biggest defensive signing of the entire offseason by landing J.C. Jackson. Now, the Chargers are better equipped to play Staley's defense.

It is totally understandable why the Chargers may not have prioritized re-signing Kyzir White this offseason. However, at the price that White costs, it is still a missed opportunity. Sure, Staley may not favor linebackers as much in his defense but he still has to play them and the current linebackers are now a disaster.

Drue Tranquill is an average-at-best inside linebacker while Kenneth Murray was really bad last season and his skillset really does not seem to translate well into what Staley wants to do with the defense. The Chargers now have a big hole that they have to fill and that hole could have been filled with an in-house option for up to $5 million.

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It will be interesting to see what the Chargers do moving forward and what they do with the cap space that they saved by no signing White. If the Chargers use that cap space to sign an old, injured right tackle (looking at you, Riley Reiff) after releasing Bryan Bulaga then it really will be the Adrian Phillips situation all over again.