Chargers need to prioritize Michael Davis extension over Austin Ekeler

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The elephant in the Chargers' cornerback room

A year ago this month, the Chargers signed cornerback J.C. Jackson was signed to a 5 year, $82.5 million contract with $40 million guaranteed. His 2022 season was a roller coaster however it's sliced. Preseason ankle surgery, returning against Kansas City, his benching in favor of Davis against Denver, and then tearing his patellar tendon against Seattle after it looked like he had finally settled in on defense was just a brutal 2-3 month sequence of events.

2023 is the last season of Jackson's deal with guaranteed money on it. If the Chargers choose to move on next season and cut their losses, they can do so with either a pre or post-June 1st cut.

Of course, it should be said that no one is rooting for that outcome. The organization believes in Jackson and both sides will do everything in their respective powers to make his comeback season as successful as it can possibly be.

But the patellar tendon knee injury tends to be a death knell for wide receivers and cornerbacks. Asante Samuel Jr., while he's taken strides, is not ready to take over as CB1. The Chargers probably could stand to use a top-100 draft selection at cornerback even if Davis is in the fold for 2024 in building up depth.

Extending Davis takes some of the pressure off of the Jackson situation. The Chargers would still need to make a decision on what to do in 2024 and beyond, but having Davis in the cornerback room makes that decision a lot easier either way.

While they're publicly rooting for Jackson to recover as best as he can, a Davis extension needs to be part of the contingency plan if the former Patriot is unable to bounce back in 2023.