With a 4-3 record coming out of the most difficult stretch of games this season, the LA Chargers look like contenders a year ahead of schedule, putting them in a clear position to be buyers at the trade deadline if the front office chooses to be active.
Historically, Tom Telesco has not engaged much in the in-season trade market, particularly as a buyer. However, this season looks and feels different in so many ways.
The Chargers have played excellent this year, and there is a clear opening to win the division for the first time in a while. The front office has also been willing to make some in-season adjustments that have not occurred quickly in recent years with the additions of Dustin Hopkins and Andre Roberts. Finally, the Chargers also have unique ability to be buyers due to their cap flexibility afforded by having great rookies manning the quarterback and left tackle positions.
With all of this said, the LA Chargers have the potential to make a win-now move or two at the deadline.
However, it is important for the Chargers to not be reckless with their capital and address important needs.
With that said, here are the top 5 positions for the Chargers to address with their extra draft capital as well as a candidate or two for each position.
5. Running Back
Checking in a fifth in terms of trade need, the running back position on the Chargers is in dire need of depth.
While Austin Ekeler is clearly a very talented and capable primary running back, absolutely nobody has stepped up behind him. That point has been made clear by the usually easy-going Ekeler calling out one of his teammates to step up this week.
So, if there is a clear need at running back, why not go to the trade market to get one?
Unfortunately, the value available for a running back in a trade simply makes this a move that is unlikely to be worthwhile.
Marlon Mack, the Indianapolis Colts' third string running back, has been most often referenced in trade rumors. While he would certainly upgrade the second running back spot on the Chargers, his acquisition would probably cost at least a fifth round pick. Is that really worth it for a half of a season of a backup running back?
Furthermore, other options exist on the market for free, including Jordan Wilkins, who was recently released. Although the backup running back position needs help, a trade is not the way to find that help.