The LA Chargers have made several big moves this offseason and we are now at the point in free agency where the team is going to make smaller moves that round out the rest of the roster. LA has the star power to go toe-to-toe with any team in the league and now the focus is on depth.
Perhaps the most important area for the Chargers to add depth is at the cornerback position, for two reasons. First, even after adding J.C. Jackson, the Chargers are still pretty thin at corner. The fourth corner on the depth chart right now is Tevaughn Campbell. We all saw how he played last season.
The second reason is because of how Brandon Staley's defenses tend to operate. Staley's defense is at its best when the team has a deep and versatile secondary that can take players out of the box. To accomplish this defensive vision, the Chargers need a stout defensive line against the run (something they have improved tenfold this offseason) and a deep secondary.
The Chargers still have some salary-cap space to spend in free agency before the 2022 NFL Draft but they have to spend wisely. The Bolts need to target players who will come on cheap deals and can help the team reach its vision. A solid, cheap cornerback option luckily just hit the market for LA to potentially prusue.
Trae Waynes has ties to the LA Chargers and could be a great depth signing.
Trae Waynes was recently released by the Cincinnati Bengals after two injury-plagued seasons that saw him play just four games in total. That might seem like an instant red flag for the Chargers but that is going to exponentially decrease his value.
If the Chargers were bringing in Waynes to play a big role then yes, it would be an issue. But with these injuries, the Bolts might be able to sign a talented cornerback under 30 for a super cheap one-year deal (in the $1-1.5 million range). That is a risk-reward pay-off that is worth it for LA.
Waynes has ties to the Chargers as well as a former member of the Minnesota Vikings. New special teams coordinator Ryan Ficken was with the Vikings for a long time before joining the Chargers' staff. Waynes logged a decent number of snaps in the Vikings special teams.
The former 11th overall pick was an average cover corner at worst during his time with the Minnesota Vikings but was a fantastic tackler and was the Vikings' best run-defending cornerback on the roster. As a depth option that plays in sub-packages his coverage ability would be more than ample and the impact he could provide on early downs is especially intriguing to the Chargers.
Waynes would seemingly fit Staley's defense like a glove as well. While he primarily played outside corner in Minnesota, he did show some versatility, particularly in playing in the box. In a defense that likes to empty the box with linebackers, having a corner that can slot in the box to play coverage while also being an ample run defender would be huge for this secondary.
Of course, the Chargers would need to bring in more depth as they would be running the risk of Waynes not coming back after two injury-plagued seasons. However, at such a cheap price, that is a risk worth taking.