Chargers get likely Trey Pipkins price tag as free-agent market develops
There has already been a lot of developments around the LA Chargers this offseason. Whether it be Tom Telesco's bold restructures or Austin Ekeler shockingly requesting a trade, things are already wild for the Bolts this spring.
One of the biggest storylines around the Chargers is whether or not the team will bring back free agent Trey Pipkins. Pipkins thrived in his first full season as a starter in 2022 and certainly earned the trust of the fanbase and Justin Herbert in the process.
This kind of performance warrants a payday for Pipkins but it can be hard to pinpoint exactly how much he will get. After all, Pipkins only has one year of starting experience and did deal with MCL issues last season. That all factors into the value equation.
We are starting to get an idea of what Pipkins might sign for based on other moves that have already been made in NFL free agency. Andrew Wylie's contract with the Washington Commanders is perhaps the most telling.
Chargers' price tag for Trey Pipkins will be similar to Andrew Wylie.
While Wylie has multiple years of starting experience, the two tight ends should be considered to have equal value on the free-agent market and Pipkins will likely get a deal similar to Wylie's, which was higher than his initial projections.
Pro Football Focus projected Wylie to get a three-year, $18.75 million contract in free agency this season. His actual deal pays him 28% more than what was projected. Pipkins was projected to get a slightly higher contract, checking in at three years, $20.25 million.
If Pipkins gets the same kind of deal over his projected total then he will get a three-year, $26 million in free agency this offseason. That would likely come with around $16 million in guaranteed money with a cap hit around $6-7 million in year one.
The Chargers can certainly afford to do that after making salary-cap space with the restructures. They will have even more space if they trade Austin Ekeler or cut someone like Matt Feiler, which seems like an inevitability.
But this slight increase in price could keep the Chargers from bringing in another key free agent. Hopefully, the Bolts get a deal done sooner rather than later so the market does not continue to balloon.