The LA Chargers made perhaps the biggest free-agency signing in the entire league on Monday as the team reportedly agreed to terms on a five-year, $82.5 million contract with standout cornerback, J.C. Jackson.
Jackson was no. 1 on many Charger fans' wish lists heading into the offseason and for good reason. The Bolts lacked a true CB1 on the roster and Jackson was the best guy the team could get for the job. The Bolts continued to be aggressive, giving themselves one of the best cornerback-safety duos in the league with Derwin James.
It does not stop at cornerback and safety, though. While the secondary struggled last season (also because it could not stay healthy), the ceiling of this year's secondary with just one addition thus far is extremely exciting.
Brandon Staley's defensive philosophy is all about loading up the secondary and putting as few players in the box as possible. To do so, you need a good, versatile secondary as well as a good defensive line. We know the defensive line will be solid with the additions the team made and the secondary could be exceptional.
The ceiling of the LA Chargers secondary in 2022:
Of course, the chance of all of this happening and the Bolts living up to their absolute ceiling is slim. Every fanbase loves to build up what could be and the reality is that things never completely go your way in the NFL. However, if the Chargers are 75% of their ceiling in 2022 then they will still have one of the best secondaries in the entire league.
1. Derwin James and J.C. Jackson are both All-Pros (and stay healthy)
This is the most likely of the ceiling scenarios are both James and Jackson are All-Pro-caliber players as is. Jackson was a Second-Team All-Pro this season and James is a former First-Team All-Pro that should have at least been a Second-Team All-Pro in 2021.
These two will feed off of each other and only make each other better. Just look at how well James and Casey Hayward played together. With all due respect to Hayward, the ceiling is even higher with Jackson, especially with Staley calling the shots on defense instead of Gus Bradley.
2. Michael Davis becomes the most over-qualified CB2 in the league
I don't want to go as far as to say Michael Davis will be a Pro Bowler (although it is possible) because he did not showcase being a true CB1 last season and you typically have to be one in order to get that Pro Bowl nod.
That being said, Davis is better than most CB2s and there is a good chance that he showcases that in 2022. After a year in Brandon Staley's defense, Davis should be more comfortable and should be able to utilize his size and speed to be a truly special outside corner for the Chargers.
It is not like Davis was bad last season, there is juts a lot of expectations in being the no. 1 corner. As the no. 2 with an elite no. 1, Davis can go to work and feast on mismatches to raise his stock as a corner.
3. Asante Samuel Jr. continues to develop, turns into one of the best slot corners in the league
Asante Samuel Jr. still has loads of potential and we should not forget about the cornerback that the Chargers took in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Signing Jackson is going to allow the Chargers to play the slightly undersized Samuel in the slot more, which could be fantastic for his career.
Samuel still has the ability to play outside when needed and will likely get plenty of snaps there in Staley's defense. However, when he is in the slot, Samuel has the ball skills and football IQ to turn into one of the best slot cornerbacks in the NFL.
4. Nasir Adderley CONTINUES to get better
Nasir Adderley took a huge leap in year three under Brandon Staley and don't be surprised if he is like Kyzir White and takes a massive leap in year four in what is a contract year. With so much talent around him, Adderley could legitimately be a Pro Bowler in 2022 and that is not even much of a stretch.
5. The Chargers bring in quality depth
Just add another 1-2 solid cornerbacks who can fill in either for cheap in free agency or later in the 2022 NFL Draft and they are all set.
As long as the Bolts don't have to play Tevaughn Campbell near as many snaps as they did last offseason then the secondary should be able to get pretty close to its overall ceiling.