5 replacements if Mike Williams leaves the LA Chargers

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Brandin Cooks
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2. Brandin Cooks

Brandin Cooks is not a free agent this offseason but he is someone who the LA Chargers could try and trade for this offseason if they are unable to bring Mike Williams back. There was some speculation about the team potentially trading for Cooks during the season and if Williams is for sure gone, it could be all the Chargers need to see to make a trade for Cooks.

Of course, it would be much better for the team to just retain Williams. The Chargers would have to give away a draft pick with a similar cap hit in order to get Cooks, whereas Williams would only take the cap hit. That being said, the Chargers would likely get a third-round compensatory pick in the 2023 NFL Draft for Williams leaving, so that helps.

There are two reasons why Cooks is the most likely receiver the Chargers could trade for (if they do trade for one) this offseason. First is his connection with the team. Cooks played with the New Orleans Saints and has a connection to offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.

Second, Cooks' trade value is not as high as some of the other players that will potentially be on the market this offseason. Cooks is on an expiring contract and has a big cap. That undoubtedly makes his value less than other options.

For that reason, the Chargers might be able to get Cooks by trading a third-round pick in 2022 with a fourth-round pick in a future draft. The team would still have to address the receiver position next offseason but at least they will not throw away a year of Herbert's rookie deal.