The Los Angeles Chargers made their first necessary changes before the 2024 NFL offseason by firing head coach Brandon Staley and general manager Tom Telesco. Now, difficult decisions must be made for a Chargers’ franchise that might be further away from contention than it believes.
Los Angeles pushed all of its chips in for the 2022-’23 seasons, spending tens of millions of dollars on veterans and complementary players under the belief this team could win immediately. However, the last two years have proven there are too many holes for Los Angeles to be a force in the AFC anytime soon. As a result, more sweeping changes should be made this spring.
Here are five moves the Los Angeles Chargers need to make this offseason.
1. Hire Brian Flores as head coach, Ken Dorsey as OC
There’s a strong case to be made for hiring an offensive-minded head coach, ensuring system continuity for years to come if the right hire is made. However, the Chargers’ defense needs just as much work as the offense and if you already have a franchise quarterback, it makes sense to hire a defensive-minded coach.
Related: NFL defense rankings
Flores’ resume on the defensive side speaks for itself. He orchestrated some of the NFL’s best defensive units in New England and then squeezed out surprising results with the Miami Dolphins. In a single season with the Minnesota Vikings, he’s almost single-handedly turned around their defense.
|Yards per Play
|MIN Vikings defense (2022)
|MIN Vikings defense (2023)
Flores’ receptiveness to hiring certain offensive coordinators becomes the question. He demonstrated a poor track record in Miami and given this could be his last chance to be a head coach, it’s not unreasonable to think an offensive play-caller is pushed on him. Ken Dorsey coordinated one of the NFL’s top offenses with Josh Allen and he could do the same in Los Angeles with Herbert.
2. Los Angeles Chargers cut Khalil Mack, Mike Williams and Eric Kendricks
Telesco left a mess to clean up. Taking an all-in approach on the 2023 season backfired and now a new general manager needs to clean up the mess. This means parting ways with plenty of household names. Austin Ekeler shouldn’t be re-signed whatsoever and Los Angeles would be wise to cut Khalil Mack, Mike Williams and Eric Kendricks just to name a few.
- Los Angeles Chargers cap space 2024: -$42.186 million
The cap savings would be massive. By designating Mack ($23.25 million), Williams ($20 million) and Kendricks ($6.5 million) for release, Los Angeles frees up more than $50 million in cap space for three players it doesn’t need in 2024. Importantly, though, the Chargers’ roster turnover shouldn’t end here. Trades are the next option.
3. Trade Joey Bosa and Keenan Allen
The Chargers could consider cutting Joey Bosa, freeing up tens of millions of dollars in cap space. However, there might be enough interest in the Pro Bowl edge defender to move him. Our rationale for trading Bosa is simple, a player who has taken the field in 14 combined games over the last two seasons and has double-digit sacks once since 2020 isn’t worth a $36.6 million cap hit in 2024. So, Los Angeles should move him for whatever draft capital it can get and generate $14.288 million in cap savings.
Trading Keenan Allen is more optional. The moves we’ve already suggested for Los Angeles to make would effectively take this team out of contention in 2024. Once that’s established, Allen’s presented with the choice of being traded to a contender or finishing out his contract with the Chargers. Keeping Allen on a restructured extension would be the preference, but he likely would want to play for a Super Bowl contender next season.
4. Sign Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown in NFL free agency
Quentin Johnston hasn’t worked out for the Chargers and there’s a reasonable argument that he’ll wind up being a first-round bust. Los Angeles needs more speed and Marquise Brown would provide Herbert with one of the best vertical threats in the game.
Brown won’t need to be paid like a WR1, especially with the other high-end options available in free agency and the NFL Draft. Only turning 27 in June, he would also fit in with the young core we’re building on the Chargers’ roster. While there are plenty of other complementary pieces to target in NFL free agency, Brown would represent the big “splash” on the offensive side.
5. Preliminary 2024 Los Angeles Chargers mock draft
The decision in our preliminary Los Angeles Chargers mock draft came down to Malik Nabers and Brock Bowers. Nabers plays the more valuable position, but Brock Bowers is the more well-rounded talent. Plus, he fits in nicely for the offense we’re trying to build, mixing in downfield shots to Marquise Brown with Bowers and potentially Keenan Allen working underneath. If all goes well, Bowers could be the George Kittle of the Chargers’ offense.
- 1st Round, 5th overall: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
- 2nd Round, 37th overall: Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia
- 3rd Round, 69th overall: Blake Corum, RB, Michigan
Leading off Round 2, Los Angeles fills a void at cornerback. Kamar Lassiter (6-foot) was outstanding this season in coverage. Pro Football Focus recorded Lassiter holding opponents to a 50.0 NFL QB rating when targeted, surrendering zero touchdowns and just 16 receiving yards on 40 targets.
Rounding out this mini-Chargers mock draft would be our top running back next season. While Blake Corum isn’t an elite talent he is one of the most well-rounded ball carriers in the 2024 class. He’ll be more of an early-down runner, but Los Angeles can find a complementary pass-catching weapon to fill out this offense.