The Chargers at the trade deadline? That used to be a moot point. But now, things are changing in Los Angeles, as the Chargers are now emerging as a big market team with big aspirations, and putting their money where their mouth is. As the deadline approaches, and the Chargers injury list continues to grow – it’s quite evident that the Bolts are in significant need of a quick fix. Like a band-aid, if you want. Because, of course, the Chargers don’t have the cap room for a blockbuster trade – nor, is a superstar really necessary. The struggles become more and more apparent, but luckily, they can be fixed by some key, yet inexpensive additions.
What the Chargers are in need of right now are some glue players. Guys like DeAndre Carter and Bryce Callahan – guys who came in throughout the offseason and were out shadowed by Khalil Mack and JC Jackson. Yet, their impacts have been increasingly obvious. Even with all of the injuries the Chargers have endured, they still find themselves at 4-3, second in the AFC West, and with a solid core group of talent.
Sure, we could play “what if’s” all day – what if Herbert never took that rib-cracking blow. What if Rashawn Slater didn’t go down for the year. The list goes on and on. But football doesn’t work like that – you must face the reality head on, or you’ll get trampled. This deadline is a significant moment for Tom Telesco & company – a group who had already shelled out the big bucks, yet still need to invest more to see a solid return (and job security).
So, all of that being said – here are the needs that I believe should be met if the Chargers want to (realistically) contend:
This one is a no-brainer, especially after Mike Williams going down – which only adds more impact to Keenan Allen’s lingering injury. The need for receiving help was made obvious after Keenan Allen went down, and it seemed like DeAndre Carter was WR1. Granted, Carter showed up and played well – but for that’s not going to cut it for any team with Super Bowl aspirations. Now that Mike Dub is down and out – the Chargers find themselves back to crisis mode.
With Kenny Golladay, Jerry Jeudy, Chase Claypool, and Denzel Mims believed to be on the board – it’s quite obvious who the best are, talent-wise. But, it’s more than doubtful that the Broncos would deal Jeudy to a division rival, and Claypool would likely come at a high price. I’d say Golladay is the safest bet, given he has some WR1 experience, and is especially good with the long ball. Mims would be more of a risk – but the payoff could be huge.
Again, part of this is due to injury – but even with JC Jackson on the field, the Chargers secondary was far too inconsistent for comfort. There’s been a decent amount of interceptions – yet also a lot of blown coverages. And it’s not fun to watch. When Trevor Lawrence, Jacoby Brissett, and Geno Smith can tear you apart – you know you have a problem. And now that JC will be out for the year, it’s a legitimate urgency that needs to be addressed.
Sidney Jones IV and William Jackson III seem to be the only ones rumored to be on the block. And, to be honest, either of those two would be an upgrade from Michael Davis – a guy who’s been undoubtedly the most inconsistent CB on the Bolts’ roster. So, here’s what I think the plan of action should be. If the Chargers can merely snag a CB2 level guy – you move Asante Samuel Jr up to CB1, plug & play the new guy at CB2, and keep Bryce Callahan in the slot. If that can happen, this position turns into a strength.
This was the one void all of us fans at least knew about even before the season started. The Chargers struck gold when they landed Rashawn Slater last year, and may have done the same with Jamaree Salyer as well. But Storm Norton and Trey Pipkins have been far, far from that. Trey Pipkins is comparable to a solid back up, he’s serviceable, and would perfectly come in handy replacing the injured Slater. But as a starter – nope, no thanks. Especially if you want Herbert’s ribs to stay intact. And Storm Norton? I’ll save you all the ranting. The guy is just… bad.
The answer here, in my opinion, would be Eric Fisher – who, I’ll remind y’all, is a free agent. It’s a low-risk option that both parties can agree isn’t a long term fix. And that’s quite alright – let’s call a spade a spade, Fisher would be replacing the injured Slater for the rest of the year, then walk away – no hard feelings. But do you really need to sign a free agent for a little over half of a year? In this case, when it comes to keeping your franchise QB safe – I’d say the answer is an obvious yes.
In closing, I’d like to take this moment to beg of Tom Telesco to get rid of Jerry Tillery. It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a circular hole – it’s just not going to work. The guy has all of the physical tools, yes, I get it – but you can’t teach intangibles. If penalty yardage was a positive statistic – Tillery would be incredible! I mean, the guy is frequently jumping offside, holding, or doing just about whatever he can to get those penalty yards! Please, let’s just admit the first round pick didn’t work – and he’s not making his value any higher either. Hope to get a 6th or 7th in return, and move on.
All in all, the Chargers have been badly bit by the injury bug, and it sucks – that’s all you can say about that. It happens in football, look at the Buccaneers, the Bolts aren’t the only ones! But that’s the beautiful side of the business, as well – it’s a business! Now’s the time for the Chargers to either buck up and retain some wins while key players heal – or simply throw the season away.
The ball is in your court, Telesco…