If there is one thing that fans have learned in two years since Brandon Staley became the head coach of the LA Chargers it is that he loves to bring back players that he previously coached in other stops. Whether it be a savvy signing like Morgan Fox or a big trade like Khalil Mack, the Bolts have had success with this strategy.
If it is working then the Chargers should continue to do it and the team can pull off another reunion of sorts before the 2023 season. While most of the pieces are in place for the 2023 season, the Bolts can pull off a savvy trade to keep bolstering the offense for Justin Herbert.
The Chargers should give the Atlanta Falcons a call and see if Cordarelle Patterson is available on the market. Patterson's time with the Chicago Bears did not intersect with Staley but he played for Hutchinson Junior College while Staley was the defensive coordinator there.
What a Chargers trade for Cordarelle Patterson could look like:
The asking price for Cordarelle Patterson is not going to be very high. DeAndre Swift was traded for a fourth-round pick and a future seventh-round pick (while netting the Eagles a seventh-round pick in return). While Patterson has been an All-Pro, he is much older than Swift and has one year under contract.
A sixth-round pick is probably the asking price for Patterson but there could be a stipulation added to the pick that could sweeten the deal for Atlanta. It has become a common trend in the NFL to add incentives that can trigger the pick into bigger better. If Patterson hits a certain snap count, yardage, or whatever the Chargers deem fit then it could convert to a fifth-round pick.
This is still a great price to pay for a veteran running back who can add great depth to the roster. There are a lot of unknowns at running back this season both with Austin Ekeler's status as well as the ability of Joshua Kelley and Isaiah Spiller to potentially step up.
Adding Patterson would be insurance. If Ekeler does not play then Patterson essentially takes his role in the offense. If Ekeler does play then the team suddenly has the most dynamic running back pair in the league that Kellen Moore can have a lot of fun with.
So why does Atlanta even do this? Well, the team drafted Bijan Robinson in the first round and still has both Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley in the RB room. In a perfect world, the Chargers would be able to land Allgeier because of his age and potential but the Falcons would be foolish to move on from him before Patterson.
For a rebuilding Falcons team, it is better to get the young guys with potential snaps rather than let Patterson hog the workload. Plus, if the team trades him after June 1 it will save $4.25 million against the cap this season and $1.25 million next year (Patterson has void years).
His cap his for 2023 is affordable for the Chargers ($5.5 million) and he is only under contract for the 2023 season. It could be an excellent short-term solution to add depth to the offense without selling the future.