The LA Chargers are through the preseason and now Brandon Staley and Tom Telesco have some tough decisions to make at they trim the roster down to 53 players.
One of the tough decisions that the team might have to make is parting ways with 2019 draft pick, Trey Pipkins. Brought in as a developmental tackle prospect, Pipkins has never really panned out and has been horrible in the preseason for the Bolts.
Pipkins made the cut in our 53-man roster prediction as the tackle depth is not there to justify cutting him. Sure, he has been bad, but what else are the Chargers going to do? As the roster stands, there is nobody that the team can justify keeping over Pipkins.
However, there are external options that are absolutely better than Pipkins.
The LA Chargers have options if they want to replace Trey Pipkins on the 53-man roster
There are still some quality tackle options on the free-agent market that would provide the team a better swing tackle off the bench than Pipkins. I know at this stage of the season the free agents are not the greatest but the veterans available are solid.
It is not new-founded for a team to sign a veteran after training camp is already over. These veterans have already proven their worth in the NFL and do not need a training camp to prove that they can at least be a backup tackle.
The LA Chargers are no strangers to signing veterans late in the process so they don't have to go through training camp. The situation was obviously different, but the Bolts re-signed Antonio Gates for his last season on September 2 of 2018. He did not need training camp or the preseason to be a veteran tight end option.
The team could do the same with one of the veteran free agents that are on the market. In this situation, the Chargers essentially gave Pipkins all the chances in the world to prove that he is farther along in his development and can be a trusted swing tackle.
He did not do that, so you cannot blame the Chargers for potentially looking elsewhere.
The veteran tackle market is actually pretty deep this late in the process. Russell Okung, Rick Wagner, Mitchell Schwartz and Demar Dotson are all still on the market. It would not be smart to trust one of these veterans as an every-down tackle, but as a swing tackle they are more than overqualified.
Yes, the team would be trading another potential season of the younger Pipkins for one year of a veteran but is Pipkins really going to piece it together and prove to be a starting-caliber tackle? Probably not and chances are the team is drafting a right tackle early in the 2022 NFL Draft, anyway.
It is not a matter of if the LA Chargers have another route if they cut Trey Pipkins, it is a matter of if the team is willing to go down that route.