The Las Vegas Raiders are the LA Chargers' biggest rivals and the 2021 Raiders are looking a lot like Charger teams of the past. Former Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley joined the Raiders coaching staff last offseason and brought some former Chargers along with him.
Long-time cornerback Casey Hayward is manning the secondary in Vegas while Denzel Perryman was traded for after he initially signed with the Washington Football Team. Brandon Facyson, Damion Square and Darius Philon are all on the Raiders' roster as well.
There were no former Chargers on the offensive side of the ball up until Thursday as the Raiders have signed free agent Tyron Johnson. Johnson was cut by the Chargers before the season and was just waived by the Jacksonville Jaguars. No team claimed him off of waivers and he was free to sign wherever he pleased as a free agent.
This move was particularly frustrating for Chargers fans as most fans didn't understand why Johnson was let go in the first place. This was a chance for the Bolts to right the wrong and they didn't. Instead, they doubled down on the wrong.
Meanwhile, the Raiders are making the moves that the Chargers should be making.
Not every former Charger that is currently on the Raiders should still be on the Chargers. Personally, I would have liked to see Brandon Facyson stay in LA as a depth option, especially after seeing how bad Tevaughn Campbell and Chris Harris Jr. play on the outside, but it is what it is.
Instead, the moves that the Raiders are making that the Chargers should be making are in free agency. Johnson wasn't the only vertical threat that the Raiders brought in as they also brought in DeSean Jackson.
Look, I can understand Tom Telesco not wanting to trade picks for help on this year's team, especially when the help isn't going to substantially increase their Super Bowl odds. While I still think the team should have traded a pick for a defensive tackle, I at least understand the line of thinking.
What I don't understand is the team passing on the opportunity to sign guys for free. Heck, I even understood the Chargers not picking up Jackson on waivers because of his cap hit and how that would have impacted the roll-over cap.
But as a straight-up free agent? The Chargers easily could have brought him in without it impacting the future cap situation. We have no idea of knowing if the Chargers offered something to Jackson but based on Telesco's conservative nature, I would bet that they didn't.
Letting Johnson walk yet again makes absolutely no sense. While it is understandable if Johnson himself does not want to return to the team that just cut him, the Chargers could have forced the issue by claiming him on waivers! Johnson's contract did not have the same cap impact as Jackson's original contract so they absolutely could have claimed him.
But they didn't. Instead, the team decides to continue rostering a third quarterback (the Raiders don't have three quarterbacks), a fifth tight end (the Raiders don't have five tight ends) and only five wide receivers that, quite frankly, haven't been that great this season.
What makes it worse is that the LA Chargers have a higher ceiling than the Las Vegas Raiders and these complementary pieces could have made a big difference.