Chargers' potential 2024 starting center just hit the free-agent market

Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers
Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

The LA Chargers made three moves during the legal tampering window ahead of the start of the league year earlier this week. Los Angeles signed external free agents Gus Edwards and Will Dissly while also re-signing safety Alohi Gilman.

Then the focus turned to becoming cap-compliant, as the Bolts released Mike Williams and restructured Khalil Mack's contract to do so. As it stands now, the Chargers are below the salary cap threshold but may look to create more space (perhaps by trading Joey Bosa) to bring in a few other cheap free agents.

One of the bigger needs on the roster still standing is a starting center. Los Angeles needs to replace a retiring Corey Linsley and may look to add a stopgap veteran who can start while a rookie draft pick develops behind him.

If that is the route that the Chargers are going to take then the free-agent center who the team may pursue is abundantly clear. Bradley Bozeman has officially been released by the Carolina Panthers at the start of the league year and has to be considered the favorite to sign with the Chargers in free agency.

Bradley Bozeman makes perfect sense for the Chargers to sign

There are a few things working in Bozeman's favor, all of which point him directly to the Chargers. First and foremost, he has ties to both general manager Joe Hortiz as well as offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Prior to playing for the Carolina Panthers, Bozeman played for the Baltimore Ravens and as we have seen abundantly this season, these connections influence decisions.

Additionally, because Bozeman was released from his contract he will not count against the Chargers' compensatory formula. As it stands right now, the Chargers are projected to get two sixth-round picks in the 2025 NFL Draft from the Gerald Everett and Kenneth Murray departures.

The Gus Edwards signing offset the Austin Ekeler signing but the Will Dissly signing did not impact the formula because he was released by the Seattle Seahawks. Released players do not factor in, giving Hortiz even more of a reason to pursue the former Raven.

And just from a football standpoint, signing Bozeman makes a ton of sense. He is by no means an elite center but he is a serviceable, starting-caliber center that can help calm the storm as the Chargers embrace this changing of the guard from Linsley.

Bozeman also has experience playing left guard in the NFL. If the Chargers draft a center that develops quicker than expected then the door is open to move Bozeman to guard if someone like Jamaree Salyer is not playing up to standards. Flexibility is the best ability on the offensive line and Bozeman provides that.

As long as there is not a bidding war for Bozeman (there shouldn't be) then it won't be surprising at all if he is the next signing announced by the Chargers. Just like with Edwards at the running back position, the stars are simply too aligned.