We want to hear from you. Which Chargers free agent will they prioritize to resign when free agency starts on March 15th?
The Los Angeles Chargers will need to shore up the defense and continue to build around Justin Herbert in order to compete for a Super Bowl in 2023. A big part of that will be making the right decisions in free agency.
Chargers Free Agent Priorities
The slot corner in Brandon Staley’s defense is a lynchpin. If you don’t have a guy taking away the underneath routes to slot receivers, offenses can spam the slot receiver and dink and dunk their way down the field. Staley doesn’t need an All-pro guy at the spot, but you do need someone that can operate independently without extra help from safeties or linebackers.
Bryce Callahan wasn’t able to do that last season. He missed 12 tackles and gave up 204 yards after the catch. Most importantly, his yards per reception was 11.1 yards, which means he was giving up first downs, allowing opposing offenses to pick up first downs and extend drives.
Callahan won’t fetch a high price on the open market, so he will be keepable for them, but he isn’t the highest priority on the Chargers list.
Kyle Van Noy
The edge-rushing depth behind Kyle Van Noy is a bit bleak. So that is an obvious reason that the Chargers would want to keep him around. But of the starting outside linebackers, Joey Bosa is the youngster and he will turn 28 before the season starts. This means they have to get a younger option on the roster ASAP. The Chargers have three picks in the top 100 and this season’s edge draft class is stocked with talent. If the right guy is available, this could make Van Noy expendable.
Justin Herbert was under pressure 37 percent more this season than last. But by in large, Trey Pipkins wasn’t to blame. According to PFF, Pipkins allowed just under 12 percent of Herbert’s total pressures.
Getting a replacement right tackle via free agency or from the draft can be dubious. Good tackles, right or left, get pretty pricey and Pipkins just might be the third-best right tackle free agent on the market.
There is a world that the Chargers are priced out of the Pipkins market, but keeping him should be a top priority or they will be forced to address it in the draft.
Drue Tranquill should be a very retainable asset for the Chargers, but with how bad the run defense was last season Brandon Staley may be looking for wholesale change at middle linebacker. It’s a position group that he has historically had little appreciation for. So, this could go either way. That said, Tranquill won’t be a high priority.