Joe Hortiz practically guarantees the departure of several Chargers free agents

Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers
Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

Joe Hortiz joined head coach Jim Harbaugh on the introductory press conference train on Tuesday as LA Chargers fans got their first real look at the man who will be piloting the ship moving forward. After having to deal with Tom Telesco for 11 seasons, Chargers fans were thrilled with what Hortiz had to say.

Hortiz spent over two decades in one of the most successful organizations in the sport, the Baltimore Ravens. The knowledge he will bring from that organization will be paramount to the Chargers' success as Hortiz and Harbaugh look to rewrite the culture in LA.

During Hortiz's introductory press conference, there was one common trend that kept recurring throughout. On multiple occasions, Hortiz brought up his love for compensatory picks and how they can really aid in building out a roster. With these comments, Hortiz said a lot about how he will navigate his first offseason as Chargers GM.

Joe Hortiz's comments are bad news for upcoming Chargers free agents

There are 32 compensatory picks that are awarded by the NFL every year and are determined by outgoing free agents. The league uses a formula consisting of average annual value, playing time, and postseason accolades to determine if a team gets a compensatory pick, how high that pick is, and if the team gets any other picks.

Free agents that a team signs from other teams also factor into this equation, meaning that a team can zero out its compensatory picks depending on the free-agency moves. Outgoing free agents could not have been released by their respective teams, though. So if the Chargers cut someone like Mike Williams or Khalil Mack it won't factor into the comp formula.

There are several Chargers free agents who could factor into the comp formula. Austin Ekeler, Alohi Gilman and Gerald Everett are the most likely free agents who could sign for enough to get the Chargers comp picks. Kenneth Murray and Austin Johnson could potentially get the Chargers a comp pick depending on what they sign for.

Hortiz's comments bode particularly badly for the first three players mentioned. Ekeler has already regressed and the odds of him returning with a new regime were already low. Gilman and Everett had a better chance of being re-signed but the Chargers may now pass on that in favor of getting compensatory picks in the 2025 NFL Draft.

Running an NFL team can be a complex job and there are several factors that weigh into every single decision. On Tuesday, fans got a peak into what factors into Hortiz's decisions, and that may have revealed the fate of several free agents.

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