Should The Los Angeles Chargers Re-Sign This Defensive Back In 2024? 

Has Alohi Gilman done enough to earn a roster spot in 2024?

Credit: Jonathan Hui-USA TODAY Sports

As the Los Angeles Chargers are lacking in cap space, it remains to be seen which players will make this roster and which won’t. As the coaching hires slow down and decisions are made regarding the unrestricted free agents, the Chargers should seriously consider keeping safety Alohi Gilman.

What Alohi Gilman Brings To The Los Angeles Chargers

Since being drafted by the Los Angeles Chargers in the sixth round at pick 186, 2023 was the year Gilman emerged. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), he had career-highs in most areas from defensive snaps played (928), to STOPs (15), solo tackles (56), pass-breakups (seven), and interceptions (two), not to mention in overall PFF grades like receiver coverage (89.2) and run defense (75.2).

It seemed like he was everywhere at once. He had a jumping interception on a ball meant for wide receiver Stefon Diggs in Week 16 against the Bills and had another against the Chiefs in the last game of the season. He was on fire against the Ravens in Week 12, where he had a pass breakup on tight end Isaiah Likely, and teamed up with linebacker Kenneth Murray for a stop on running back Gus Edwards on a fourth and inches. He had a forced fumble on Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson in Week 9 and during that same matchup, recovered a fumble, running it all the way to the 2-yard line during the fourth quarter. 

On that Jets performance, former head coach Brandon Staley said that Gilman was a “commander,” and that he sees the game at a high level in terms of pre and post-snap to help the team play fast.

Daniel Popper of The Athletic said regarding his film study of Gilman that “…his more crucial role in Staley’s scheme is functioning as this down-to-down field general, making the calls, checks and adjustments that, as Staley put it, has a “multiplier effect” on the defense as a whole…Gilman is not the biggest player. He is not the strongest player. He is not the fastest player. He wins with his mind.”

The Chargers need someone like Gilman with deep knowledge, insight, and relentless aggression on the roster. He was the calm in a very chaotic storm last season and it would mean a lot to have that steadying, veteran presence in 2024.  

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at New York Jets
Los Angeles Chargers- Alohi Gilman: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Gilman Deserves A Roster Spot

The Chargers should definitely re-sign Gilman if possible, especially with the reported addition of safeties coach Chris O’Leary, who comes from Gilman’s alma mater Notre Dame, to the Chargers coaching staff.

Derwin James, unfortunately, reset the safeties market with his four-year $76 million contract in 2022, but part of the reason that contract was so giant was to compensate him for the large number of positions he plays for the defense.

Gilman has played most of his snaps in the free safety position and though he’s a quality player, he may not be called on for as many positional changes, which may help justify a smaller contract. Regardless of how the money shakes out, the Chargers will have to make some sacrifices, but it’s worth it to have a player like Gilman in the backfield. 

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Chargers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports