Los Angeles Chargers Are $26.6 Million Under the Cap. Which Free Agents Should They Add?

Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Chargers still have a ton of money to play with. According to Over the Cap, they have $26.6 million, 9th most in the NFL, to play with before the season starts. They still have several roster needs to fill, so let’s take a look at the free-agent options that are still available to the Chargers.

Free Agent Options for the Los Angeles Chargers

Halapoulivaati Vaitai, RG

The new Chargers regime made a strong statement by drafting an offensive tackle with the 5th pick in the NFL Draft. They also shored up center in the wake of Corey Linsley‘s retirement, by adding Bradley Bozeman. That leaves one spot still in need of an upgrade, right guard.

2023’s starting RG, Jamaree Salyer allowed the second most pressures (41) and sacks (8) on the team last year. Halapoulivaati Vaitai has never given up 41 pressures in a season. In his last full season, Vaitai allowed just 23 pressures.

That touches on why Vaitai is still a free agent. The 6 foot 6 inch 312 pounder missed all of 2022 and all but three games of 2023 because of a back injury that required surgery.

At the very least, the Chargers could create some competition at the spot while assessing Vaitai’s post-surgery skill level. At best, they could find a competent guard who would raise the level of the offensive line to the place Jim Harbaugh likes it, elite.

Calais Campbell, DL

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears
Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers could use a guy with experience playing along the interior defensive line. Calais Campbell has that in spades. He has 16 years of experience under his belt. And despite turning 38 at the beginning of the season, Campbell played at a very high-level last season. He saw 5-year high water marks at pressures (42), sacks (7), and STOPs (36).

The Chargers already added Poona Ford for just this very reason, but Harbaugh likes to build defensive lines as much as he likes to build offensive ones.

The 6-8 282 pounder isn’t a long-term option but can be a bridge to the future and invaluable in coaching the young defensive linemen on the team.

Stephon Gilmore, CB

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers
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Stephon Gilmore is the cornerback version of Campbell. Experienced? Definitely. Over the hill? Maybe. Still incredibly productive? Yup.

The Cowboys didn’t try to stash Gilmore either he played the 17th most coverage snaps in the league last season, and he was targeted 91 times, the 7th most. Yet he only allowed a completion percentage of 55%. That was 6th best among high-volume cornerbacks.

The Chargers have a well-constructed starting three at cornerback, but behind them the depth is highly questionable.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports