Chargers Linked To Von Miller With Uchenna Nwosu’s Future In Question
The official start of the new NFL league year is still a week away, but thanks to the return of the annual Scouting Combine, the rumors are swirling everywhere. The Chargers have an abundance of cap space – an amount which should increase in the next few days after they officially release veteran offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga. There were two rumors in particular that caught fire on social media on Sunday morning, both of which came by way of Pro Football Network.
The first was a report by Adam Beasley, that the Chargers and pending free agent Uchenna Nwosu have a mutual interest in reaching terms on a new deal for him to stay with the team. The second came later that day when Aaron Wilson linked the Chargers to future hall of famer Von Miller. Both Wilson and CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson are expecting a “robust market” for Miller’s services – with Anderson specifically mentioning at least six other teams that have already shown interest, along with the Rams of course.
This puts the Chargers in a rather interesting position. Nwosu is a homegrown player that has shown up in some very key moments for them so far in his career. I believe Nwosu is an ascending player in this league, and the team clearly thinks very highly of him. Head coach Brandon Staley has said on more than one occasion that Nwosu is perfect for their scheme, and general manager Tom Telesco called him a player that they absolutely want to keep building around. Nwosu accumulated a career-high 40 pressures, with five sacks and 12 quarterback hits in his first true season as a starting player. He really put things together after the bye once he settled into his new role in Staley’s new defense.On the other hand, Miller is an all-time great player who might be on the decline but is still unquestionably a more productive player at this moment than Nwosu. In the Rams’ four postseason games, Miller totaled 23 pressures, with four sacks, and one forced fumble against the Buccaneers. So he clearly still has a lot of good ball ahead of him. As Anderson and others have reported, there is mutual interest between Miller and the Rams in a “run it back” scenario, but as we have seen several times in the league: money talks. If the Chargers feel like they need to make a move to upgrade the short-term future of the edge rusher spot opposite of Joey Bosa, then Miller clearly makes sense. Miller and Staley are very familiar with each other from the one season that Staley served as his position coach in Denver, and Staley has spoken very fondly of their relationship several times before.
Prying Miller away from the other Los Angeles team would likely cost the Chargers an average of at least $18 million per year. While Nwosu is reportedly seeking a new deal in the $10-13 million per year range, which would obviously allow the Chargers to grow the roster in other areas as well.
I would still expect Nwosu to be the priority here. The Chargers can extend him at any time before the new league year starts, as they did with Michael Davis the day before free agency began last year. Young, homegrown pass rushers with his athletic ceiling are hard to let go of. Especially when considering players of his profile generally don’t hit their peak until they’re 26-27 years old and Nwosu is still only 25. The best is still yet to come for him. However, if he wants to test the market and gets a bigger number from another team *cough Colts cough* than the Chargers are willing to match, moving on to Miller wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.