Chargers projected to be gifted two more future draft picks this offseason

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

If there was one thing that Chargers fans learned during Joe Hortiz's introductory press conference it was that the new GM loves compensatory picks. Granted when a team's free agent signs with another team, compensatory picks can be a big part of the roster-building process.

Outside of the 2021 NFL Draft, where the Chargers got a third-round pick from Philip Rivers signing with the Indianapolis Colts, the Bolts have not benefitted from getting comp picks much in the past. It certainly never felt like an intentional part of Tom Telesco's operation and more so felt like happenstance when the team did get a comp pick.

That is going to change over Hortiz and it might change under as soon as this offseason. While the Chargers do not have many big-value free agents, there are two prominent names that could bring back comp picks: Austin Ekeler and Gerald Everett.

Pro Football Focus recently released its contract projections for all of the top free agents and the usually-accurate predictions have the two free agents signing for a price that would benefit the Chargers greatly.

Austin Ekeler and Gerald Everett contract projections could net the Chargers two draft picks

If Austin Ekeler and Gerald Everett end up signing near the amount that PFF projects then the Chargers would be in line to get two compensatory picks in the 2025 NFL Draft. At least there is some upside to letting the two offensive playmakers walk in free agency.

Ekeler's AAV on a two-year, $13.5 million contract would be $6.75 million. That contract figure netted either a fifth or sixth-round compensatory pick, with the value also being influenced by Ekeler's snap count and if he wins any accolades. If he plays great for his new team at this price the Chargers will get a fifth. If he doesn't then the Bolts would get a sixth.

A $5.5 million AAV for Gerald Everett would safely put him in the sixth-round pick range. Players who signed deals for less than $5 million still netted their previous teams a sixth-round pick, so it is a safe assumption that the Chargers would get a sixth for Everett.

The Chargers won't get these picks if they make similar signings in free agency. If the Chargers were to make two signings at similar value (of external free agents) then it would negate the compensatory picks awarded for Ekeler and Everett. Thankfully, the Chargers don't have much cap space to really spend that much on external free agents, which may allow the team to get the max for these two players leaving.

There is a way to get around this, though. Any free agents that last into May and get signed after May 1 do not count toward the compensatory formula. So if the Chargers do want to bring free agents in at a cheap price, they can practice patience and still reap the rewards of the comp picks.

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