One of the most perplexing things the LA Chargers did in the 2023 offseason was sign Eric Kendricks to a two-year, $13.25 million contract after letting Drue Tranquill and Kyzir White walk in consecutive years for $3 million each.
Both Tranquill and White were coming off of career years with the Chargers yet the team seemingly had no interest in bringing either back. It would be one thing if the Chargers didn't spend at linebacker at all, but to sign an over-the-hill veteran to a contract that was over twice as expensive as White and Tranquill combined made no sense.
These perplexing decisions are part of the reason why Brandon Staley and Tom Telesco didn't last the entire 2023 season in Los Angeles. Both men were fired after the team's 63-21 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders and were not around for Tranquill's return to Los Angeles with the Chiefs in Week 18.
The Chargers-Chiefs game in Week 18 was very inconsequential as the Chargers were playing for draft position and the Chiefs were playing backups. This lack of stakes buried Tranquill's return to SoFi Stadium as he did not suit up for the game. However, Tranquill made sure to make one last parting message, sending a very direct and obvious shot at Staley on social media after the game.
Drue Tranquill takes obvious shot at Brandon Staley after Chargers-Chiefs
Tranquill's exit from the Chargers was polarizing and a post like this on social media almost guarantees that it was messy in some capacity. There were conflicting reports around Tranquill's departure and it was unclear if it was his decision or the team's decision to let him leave.
This post by Tranquill may confirm that Staley had something to do with him not returning. Why else would the former Chargers linebacker post a picture of him embracing interim head coach Giff Smith with that caption? It does not take a rocket scientist to read between the lines on this one.
Ultimately, this goes hand-in-hand with what Chargers fans heard about Staley after his departure. There were reports that Staley had the locker room divided with players who were obviously "his guys" and players who did not fall into that exclusive club. Based on the fact that he left, Tranquill probably wasn't a "Staley guy".
This is a real shame because the Chargers absolutely should have kept him around. Tranquill had a better season than Kendricks in 2023 and came at a cheaper price. With Kendricks likely being a cap casualty this offseason, the Chargers made the worst move possible to let Tranquill walk and sign a veteran instead.
And for that, Chargers fans can blame Brandon Staley. He may not have been the GM but he had an obvious impact on roster personnel choices that simply came back to bite.