Los Angeles Chargers Have 1 Glaring Concern to Address Before Regular Season

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The Los Angeles Chargers did a great job addressing their biggest team needs through the draft and free agency all while getting $30 million under the salary cap. They solidified Justin Herbert‘s protection, bolstered the rushing attack, added three new pass catchers, and added depth to the second and third levels of the defense.

Current State of the Los Angeles Chargers Defensive Line

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Los Angeles Chargers Poona Ford: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

They shored up everything they needed to heading into the summer. Well, except for one area; The defensive line. Sure, they signed Poona Ford and drafted Justin Eboigbe, but those seem more like stop-gap options rather than long term solutions.

Regardless of how one feels about Ford’s largess as a gap-clogging force, his best days seem to be behind him and he is on a one-year contract. Eboigbe’s draft projections give him a backup grade with a high floor but a low ceiling.

As of right now the starting defensive line consists of Ford, Morgan Fox, and Otito Ogbonnia with Eboigbe and Scott Matlock as rotational pieces. Ford and Fox are the two most experienced of those five, and both had perhaps the two worst seasons of their respective careers. Ogbonnia and Matlock got the most action of their careers last season, but only after Sebastian Joseph-Day was released.

Chargers Plan To Address The Defensive Line

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Los Angeles Chargers Draft Pick: Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports

Because the Chargers did such a fantastic job flipping their salary cap, they will still have $20 million in space to work with once the rookie class is signed. So they will still have plenty of money to sign a free-agent defensive lineman.

The question there is who is available and what will the Charger’s long-term goal be along the defensive interior.

Los Angeles Chargers Free Agent Options

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To answer the first question, not much is currently available to sign. Calais Campbell may be the best option available, but he certainly meets the criteria of a stop-gap as he will be 38 years old when the new season starts. That said, he did compile more sacks individually than the entire Chargers defensive line last year.

Considering Jim Harbaugh‘s reputation for building teams from the line of scrimmage expect attention to be paid to this position. If they don’t trade or sign a free agent they will have to rely on several things to occur; Fox and Ford both have bounce-back seasons and Matlock and Ogbonnia flourish under a new defensive coaching regime. Or Eboigbe is a diamond in the rough rookie prodigy.

As Vince Lombardi said, ‘Hope is not a strategy.’