Most underappreciated Chargers: John Jefferson
When talking about the greatest wide receivers in Chargers franchise history, John Jefferson's name rarely comes up. Jefferson isn't high in all-time statistical rankings because his time with the franchise was so short but he was so impactful to the early days of the Air Coryell offense.
Jefferson was a first-round pick by the Chargers in the 1978 NFL Draft and he instantly made his mark as one of the best receivers in the sport. He finished with over 1,000 receiving yards in his first three seasons in the league, leading the league in touchdowns in both his rookie season and third season.
Through three seasons Jefferson had 3,431 receiving yards and 36 receiving touchdowns. The only other players in NFL history to have 3,400+ receiving yards and 36+ receiving touchdowns in franchise history are Jerry Rice and Randy Moss, the two greatest receivers of all time.
So what happened? Jefferson had a contract dispute as he said the Chargers were not paying him enough as a top receiver in the league, which was fair. After he and the team couldn't agree to terms the Chargers traded him to the Green Bay Packers.
One of the greatest starts in NFL history slipped through the Chargers' fingers. Jefferson never regained his form but his impact on the Bolts was undoubtedly obvious. In the three years with Jefferson, the Chargers went 32-16 in the regular season. In the ensuing three years, the team went 22-19.