Los Angeles Chargers GM Joe Hortiz Harshly Underrated in New Power Rankings

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Just four months into his tenure with the Los Angeles Chargers general manager Joe Hortiz’s job performance is being judged harshly in the new Pro Football Talk’s GM Ranking. PFT’s NFL analyst, Dallas Robinson ranked Hortiz as the 28th-best GM in the NFL.

Los Angeles Chargers GM Ranked 28th In NFL

“The longtime Baltimore Ravens personnel man stuck to positional value by drafting OT Joe Alt and WR Ladd McConkey with his first two picks,” writes Robinson, “but the Los Angeles Chargers didn’t do anything of note in free agency. How Hortiz executes Jim Harbaugh’s vision will determine his future in Los Angeles.”

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers-Head Coach Jim Harbaugh Introductory Press Conference
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The review of Hortiz’s offseason work smacks of a national media viewpoint. Closer observers will point out that the Chargers were at one point $46 million over the cap, just hours before the deadline. Within days, Hortiz and the front office executed the unpopular Keenan Allen trade and Mike Williams release, as well as, restructures to Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa‘s contract. With these moves, Hortiz sent the Chargers from cap hell to cap heaven

Thanks to Hortiz they swung $75+ million against the cap. They now sit with the 7th most cap space in the league; $28.2 million to play with before the start of the 2024 season.

Beyond that, Hortiz has already begun the process of executing “Jim Harbaugh’s vision.” But because of cap restraints, these moves fall under the radar. Restructuring Corey Linsley‘s deal was masterful. Bringing in free agents Bradley Bozeman and Gus Edwards are both huge low-cost steps toward building a Harbaugh offense.

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Hortiz also found cheap stop-gap options to fill desperate roster needs such as defensive lineman Poona Ford, linebacker Denzel Perryman, and cornerback Kristian Fulton.

Hortiz’s draft proves his devotion to Harbaugh’s team-building strategy. With fans and pundits alike demanding Malik Nabers at 5 in the draft, the Chargers made the ultimate Harbaugh move by adding offensive lineman Joe Alt. But they addressed wide receiver next, then two more times in the seventh. And also added former Michigan Wolverine, Junior Colson to the linebacker room. And found potential starting cornerbacks Cam Hart and Tarheeb Still. Those three represent replacements for the stop-gap free agents he added this year.

The job of turning around a five-win team takes years, not months. So in some ways, the ranking is understandable since it takes projection to give context to the moves Joe Hortiz has made thus far. But everything he has done shows deliberate steps in the right direction. The moves haven’t been the splashiest, but they all make sense.

And for what it’s worth Hortiz was ranked one spot higher than Tom Telesco.

NFL: Preseason-Los Angeles Chargers at San Francisco 49ers
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