The LA Chargers made a massive trade on Thursday as the Bolts traded a 2022 second-round pick and 2023 sixth-round pick for Khalil Mack. Compounded with re-signing Mike Williams to a three-year, $60 million deal, it is clear that the Chargers are being aggressive this offseason.
One of the biggest remaining needs on the Chargers' roster is at the cornerback position and the Bolts could very well be aggressive there as well. As it stands right now, the Bolts have just over $13 million to spend in free agency but can free up another $10.75 million in cutting Bryan Bulaga as well as the ability to restructure contracts to free up a significant amount of cap space.
With the cap flexibility still there after trading for Mack, there are three different routes that the team could take to address the cornerback position this offseason.
Route 1: The LA Chargers go all-in, sign J.C. Jackson
The first route that the Chargers could go is probably the most popular. This route sees the Chargers cut Bryan Bulaga and use most of that remaining spending space on J.C. Jackson. The team could then restructure some deals to free up a bit more money for other depth signings but it would essentially guarantee that right tackle and defensive tackle would be the first two picks for the team in the 2022 NFL Draft.
There is some smoke to the Jackson fire for the Chargers. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network first reported that the Chargers were interested in J.C. Jackson and Stephon Gilmore. Peter King speculated that the Chargers were not done yet and Daniel Jeremiah even suggested that the team will continue to make aggressive defensive upgrades.
Pro Football Focus projects Jackson to get a four-year, $72 million contract. Using the signing bonus and a backloaded contract, the Chargers could get Jackson under the $18 million average salary. LA could probably get him down to the $12-13 million range without making it too backloaded in the future.
The Bolts could sign Jackson and still have spending space for depth at other positions as well. If they do go this route, the team should probably draft a depth corner in the fourth or fifth round. If Jackson isn't the route, there are other options.