Cuts, Justin Herbert extension, and free agency: A look at the Chargers offseason

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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2023 Chargers Free Agency

Outside of the Herbert extension, there's not a big contract coming down the pipeline for the Chargers. The 2023 internal free agents are smaller money players but nonetheless are decisions the Chargers have to make.

Notable starters that will enter unrestricted free agency are EDGE/LB Kyle Van Noy, CB Bryce Callahan, DE Morgan Fox, S Nasir Adderley, WR DeAndre Carter, LB Drue Tranquill, and RT Trey Pipkins. Considering the Chargers' somewhat limited cash flow even in the event of a Feiler cut, it's a safe bet that not all of these names will be back.

As far as money is concerned, the highest-value name to watch is Bryce Callahan. Callahan has had a terrific season for the Chargers, playing like the best slot corner in the league at times. The real reason that the former Broncos' cornerback didn't get a longer-term deal done last offseason was injuries. But now that Callahan has proven that he can stay relatively healthy over the course of a 17-game season, he could have an increased market.

Trey Pipkins will be another interesting name to watch. It should be relatively simple for the Chargers to retain him, but it won't be quite as cheap as an extension would've been prior to the 2022 season. Pipkins continued his growth from his starts at the end of 2021 and has proven to be a quality starting tackle option.

Carter, Van Noy, Fox, and Adderley are all likely year-to-year players at this point for the team. Adderley is in a trickier position because of the emergence of Alohi Gilman potentially making his potential re-signing somewhat redundant.

Out of all the Chargers' internal free agents, Tranquill strikes me as a true litmus test for Staley and Telesco's offseason. The team let Kyzir White walk to Philadelphia last season on a $3M deal for one year. Is the philosophy on starting linebackers still the same? Tranquill has had a breakout season by all measures and his value on Spotrac is an AAV of just $4M.

MORE: Chargers way-too-early 2023 draft needs

While there's no big contract signing move for the Chargers to make this year, what they do within the margins will be very crucial for 2023 and beyond. As always - remember the vital comp pick formula when talking about the smaller money FAs.