Los Angeles Chargers With $38.7 Million Cap Surplus. Now What? 4 Necessary Moves To Fill Roster Gaps

Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Chargers were once $45.8 million over the cap, now they have the 4th most available cap space in the league with $38.7 million to spend. That is an incredible $84.5 million swing in just a few weeks.

The cost of making this money can’t be swept under the rug. They moved on from their best offensive weapons, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Austin Ekeler.

But what do they now do with all this money? The cost of The Chargers have made a handful of smart, but modest moves. The Chargers still have major holes in their roster, including the new one at wide receiver. And with the first two waves of free agency, they will have to do so with not-so-marquee players.

Los Angeles Chargers Free Agency Tracker

Los Angeles Chargers 4 Necessary Moves To Fill Roster Gaps

Defensive Line

NFL: Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens
Los Angeles Chargers Free Agent Targets: Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Chargers did add Poona Ford to the defensive, but they are still exceedingly inexperienced along the interior defensive front. For a team headed by Jim Harbaugh, this won’t do.

Calais Campbell

If it is experience they want, Calais Campbell has that in spades. He has played in more games than snaps played by Otito Ogbonnia last season. He isn’t the force that he once was but proved to have gas in the tank along an Atlanta Falcons front that left a lot to be desired. He finished the season with 6.5 sacks and 56 sacks including a safety. He is also a quality run defender, a sorely needed trait for the Chargers.

Campbell was also brought on to the Baltimore Ravens when Los Angeles Chargers GM Joe Hortiz was director of player personnel for the team.

The Chargers aren’t left with many options at this position, but other names to consider are Solomon Thomas and Teair Tart. Neither are stars at the position, but solid and affordable.

Wide Reciever

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at San Francisco 49ers
Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Herbert will need reliable pass-catchers to ensure a winning season in 2024. The players on the roster now have not proved to be that. While many predict that the Los Angeles Chargers will select a wide receiver in the first round of the draft, adding a steady veteran would pair nicely with a rookie phenom.

Tyler Boyd

At this point, the biggest splash the Los Angeles Chargers could make at the position is Tyler Boyd. Boyd is the definition of reliable, averaging 1.75 drops over the last four seasons and catching 72 percent of his career targets.

Odell Beckham Jr.

The Chargers have a decent selection to choose from. Odell Beckham Jr. and Joe Hortiz could reunite. His 39 catches and 599 yards in his return after injury didn’t set the league on fire, but the Ravens didn’t used him properly. If employed as he was with the Los Angeles Rams, Beckham would be a boon for the Chargers offense.

Other players worth considering are Josh Reynolds and Hunter Renfrow. Reynolds is a solid #2 receiver if the Chargers do go for a receiver in the first round. Renfrow proved to have a high ceiling and is in desperate need of new surroundings.


NFL: Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Stephon Gilmore

Despite his age (he will be 34 when the season starts), Stephon Gilmore proved to still be a more than competent cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys. And quarterbacks weren’t afraid to test the veteran in his 12th season, he was targeted 95 times. But he allowed a completion percentage of just 56.8. He missed just four tackles and had a career-high in run stops, 17.

Gilmore played in all 17 games last season and played on 1055 snaps, tied for third-most in his career. He isn’t a long-term option, but along with being a good starter, he will also serve as a good mentor for Samuel Jr. and any corners the Los Angeles Chargers pick up in the draft.

Adoree Jackson

Adoree’ Jackson had a down year last season in large part due to the New York Giants’ anemic pass rush. He demonstrates genuine versatility, capable of playing both inside and outside positions, the Chargers need to find answers at nickel corner as well.

He has a talent for intercepting passes, often diving to break up throws, especially when tempting quarterbacks into risky passes within his coverage zone along with solid lateral agility to aid in run defense.

Running Back

Los Angeles Chargers
Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Chargers did add Gus Edwards but will need to add another back to take the weight off his shoulders. Greg Roman likes to run the ball and do it a lot. Not only that but Herbert lost one of his favorite targets in the passing game, Austin Ekeler. Edwards is not the answer catching passes out of the backfield.

Ezekiel Elliot

Elliot is past his prime but isn’t as bad as the Patriots’ offense made him look last season. Splitting time with Edwards will help as will running behind the Chargers offensive line. Elliot has a nose for the chains. He picked up 54 first downs combined through the air and on the ground.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Clyde Edwards-Helaire‘s biggest flaw may be that he played in the same backfield as the greatest quarterback of his generation. The Kansas City Chiefs have never prioritized running the ball. The Chargers will prioritize running.

In his first year with the Chiefs, he was used at a high rate and produced good numbers. On 181 carries, he picked up 803 yards. He also caught 36 passes for 297 yards.