Chargers Free Agents Wish List
Free agency is almost upon us and it’s time the LA Chargers make some moves to acquire some of the players that are about to be cut loose. According to Over the Cap, the Chargers are more than $20 million over the $224.8 million cap, and though they have many needs, it depends on if the team can afford them.
According to Tom Telesco, the Chargers have no intention of getting rid of Keenan Allen despite the fact that letting him go is the best option to free up cap space. So the team may have to resort to restructuring or cutting a few more players than previously anticipated, in order to take advantage of any options during free agency.
Considering how far they are over the salary cap, it is difficult to gauge who they could actually go after, so I’ve taken a conservative approach for some, but for the majority, it was a wish list as perhaps the Chargers can find a way to acquire some of these likely higher salaried players if they make sacrifices to afford them.
Mostert seems like a viable option financially for the Chargers, as Spotrac sees his market value as a one-year, $2,236,558 deal. He had a productive season with Miami with 892 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns, 202 receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns, and considering he’s a little older, he could enter into a more minor contract as he did with Miami.
He’s coming off a one-year $2,125,000 contract and this past season has been his best since 2019. He was overshadowed in a few games by Jeff Wilson, and even though he’s not in line to be a starting running back, he would be a good backup or third option if Isaiah Spiller doesn’t end up working out. Mostert is still a very physical presence on the field and did well in the home stretch of the season.
Montgomery falls within my “would love to see it” for Chargers free agent signings, considering what he may cost. He’s coming off a good season with the Bears, with five rushing touchdowns, 801 rushing yards, 316 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown.
Montgomery’s rushing stats have declined from the eight touchdowns and 1,101 rushing yards of his career-high 2020 season, but he also had an ankle injury this past year and Khalil Hebert cutting into his playing time. Montgomery does hope that he will end up back in Chicago but seems to be okay if he ends up elsewhere.
Pro Football Focus is predicting he will get a “three-year, $19.5 million total contract, with $6.5 million average per year and $12.25 million guaranteed.” Since that is such a large contract, I’m unsure if the Chargers could swing that, but it would be interesting to have them adopt the Kellen Moore approach and have two lead-backs like in Dallas, taking the burden off Austin Ekeler. Joshua Kelley is a good backup, but Montgomery is better and more proven.
Peterson is coming off a great season with 16 STOPs and 66 combined (assisted and solo) tackles. He was on a one-year, $4 million deal with the Vikings. PFF predicts his contract will be “one-year with $5 million total, $4 million guaranteed, and $5 million average per year.” I’m hoping that the Chargers re-sign Bryce Callahan, but if they don’t, it will be good to have a backup plan.
The Chargers invested a lot in JC Jackson, with a five-year $82,500,000 deal. He struggled a lot, even before his season ended with a knee injury. Having Peterson as a one-year backup, if Jackson doesn’t get off to a strong start after his injury would be helpful.
Peterson has expressed that he wants to stay in Minnesota but also realizes he could be relocated.
Another “would love to see it” positional filling for the Chargers would be Zach Allen, who had career-highs in quarterback hits (15), hurries (14), and batted passes (7), and was an absolute headache during the Chargers/Cardinals game.
PFF projects Allen to get a, “three-year, $37.5 million contract with $12.5 million average per year and $26 million guaranteed.” Considering the Chargers traded for Khalil Mack last year, they probably are not looking to spend a lot on that position, especially for someone who would likely take a backseat to Mack and Joey Bosa.
Having a trio of premium edge rushers would be an interesting experiment though. If the Chargers can’t go for someone like Allen, hopefully, they extend Kyle Van Noy, and though Chris Rumph II wasn’t amazing last season, he does have this year and 2024 left on his contract to make an impression as the edge rusher group.
Another position that desperately needs a solution is left guard. Dalton Risner is coming off a four-year contract with the Broncos, worth $7,142,282, is an option. PFF predicts that his contract would be a four-year, $33 million dollar contract, with $8.25 million average per year and $20 million guaranteed.”
According to PFF, Risner’s pass-blocking grade went down from a 73.6 in 2021 to a 72.6 in 2022, and on his watch, there were three sacks, 20 quarterback hurries, and 29 quarterback pressures. His pressures and hurries numbers are up from the previous season.
Matt Feiler had significantly more pressures (40) and hurries (31) for the Chargers last year, so Risner would be an upgrade. The Chargers invested heavily in the defense last year, so perhaps they’ll take the same approach with the offense for 2023 and give Justin Herbert the protection he deserves.
The Chargers need more depth on the defensive line in general. As defensive linemen, Joe Gaziano and Christian Covington free agents. Considering all the injuries that the position group took last season, the team needs all the backups they can get.
Sheldon Rankins is another “would love to see it” on the Chargers roster. He had 26 STOPs this past season with the Jets, and his run defense grade went from 34.4 in 2021 to 67.5 in 2022, and he had four sacks, tying his sack number from 2021. He’s coming off a two-year $11 million contract. Spotrac sees his market value as a two-year $14,745,014 contract. He’s the best option for this position in the free agency group.
The Chargers will most likely look to bring back a lot of the players from this past season including Covington and Gaziano. I’m really hoping they get Morgan Fox back, given how well he played in the later part of the season.