Things were different for the LA Chargers heading into the 2022 season. For the first time in Tom Telesco's tenure as general manager, the team was very aggressive in adding talent both via free agency and a blockbuster trade. The message was simple: the Chargers were all-in on winning during Justin Herbert's rookie contract window.
That put all of the pressure on Telesco and the coaching staff. If things did not work out then it would be nearly impossible to justify keeping Telesco and Brandon Staley around, especially with Sean Payton potentially waiting in the wings. Anything short of a playoff berth would be, and should be, deemed a failure.
Things have not necessarily gone as planned for the Chargers. They entered the bye week with a winning record, but the sixth-worst average point differential in the sport. The roster is extremely banged up, with Justin Herbert suffering a lingering rib injury and several big-name players missing extended periods of time (or the entire season).
All this would point to the team being aggressive at the trade deadline. It didn't have to be a massive trade for someone like Brandin Cooks that involved a first-round pick but something to improve the team amid all of the losses. Nope. Nothing. The clock struck 1 p.m. on November 1 and the Chargers didn't make a single move.
And Chargers fans should be absolutely outraged.
It would be one thing if the Chargers were an in-between-contending team that is just trying to build something for the future. That is not the case at all. The messaging ever since the loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 18 last season is that this team will do everything it can to improve, make the playoffs and make a run.
That is, everything except trading a mid-round pick for someone who can improve the team. Instead, they would rather save that pick so they can draft someone solely based on traits instead of talent, leading to said player taking 3-4 years to develop. And by the time they fully develop, the front office won't re-sign him to a second contract anyway!
Yes, the Chargers were limited in what they could do and expecting someone like D.J. Moore to get traded to LA was silly. But this is the same team that could have a receiving corps of practice squad players out there with Justin Herbert in what is the most important stretch of the season coming up.
Mostly every other potential contending team in the AFC made some kind of move to improve their chances. The Chiefs took a chance on Darius Slayton, the Bills traded for Nyheim Hinds, the Ravens added Roquan Smith, the Dolphins added Bradley Chubb and Jeff Wilson.
The Chargers did nothing. Zero. Nada. Zilch. This is a franchise that has accepted mediocrity for years and that has been what it has gotten as a result. Should Chargers fans be surprised? Probably not. Should they be outraged? Absolutely.