Moreover, the team will need to decide which of their own free agents to re-sign or let walk. They have a total of 14 unrestricted free agents slated to hit the market on March 7.
Los Angeles also has a slew of exclusive rights free agents and restricted free agents. Exclusive free agents are easily re-signed with minimum salaries, while restricted free agents are given tenders and L.A. can match another team’s offer on said RFA.
Defensive End Melvin Ingram
Ingram will be one of the hottest commodities during free agency. He has compiled 18.5 sacks over the past two seasons.
According to Spotrac.com, Ingram is expected to command $17.2 million per season in free agency. At that projection, Ingram would eat up most of the Chargers’ cap space.
Therefore, the Chargers would be wise to let Ingram walk. L.A. It is also important to note that the Chargers are changing defensive schemes. They are moving from a 3-4 scheme to a 4-3 scheme. That means Ingram will probably move from a stand-up rusher to a true defensive end. Hence, he may opt for a new team if he has to adjust to a new scheme anyways.
Not to mention, the Chargers possess the No. 8 overall pick. They are in the perfect position to draft Ingram’s replacement. Either way, adding another pass rusher will be a major key for Los Angeles.
Safety Jahleel Addae
Addae got a pick and touchdown in 2016. He also finished as the No. 37 ranked safety, per Pro Football Focus.
Spotrac also predicts that Addae will command $4.5 million on the open market. That is a bargain for a 27-year-old safety with 27 games of experience.
Granted, he only has one interception in his entire career. Plus, this NFL Draft class is stacked with safeties and defensive backs. Thus, the Chargers may be tempted to replace Addae with a player like Jamal Adams or Malik Hooker.
However, Los Angeles has other needs they must address with the top pick and the rest of the offseason.
Linebacker Manti Te’o
Te’o will always be infamous for his college girlfriend at Notre Dame.
Otherwise, his on-field play has been a mixed bag. He has started 34 of 38 career games. He’s only registered 160 tackles, one forced fumble, two interceptions, zero fumble recoveries, and 1.5 sacks over that time.
Last season, Te’o only played in three games. During those three games, Pro Football Focus gave him a 38.3 overall grade. Linebackers Denzel Perryman, Korey Toomer, and Jatavis Brown all graded much higher.
Additionally, the Chargers are switching to a 4-3 defense. That means one less linebacker on the field. Roomer, Perryman, and Brown seem poised to form a nice linebacker group without Te’o.
It is time for Los Angeles to put Te’o behind them. A change of scenery will probably be beneficial for both parties.
Backup Running backs
Chargers starting running back Melvin Gordon fell three yards short of 1,000 rushing yards and he had his first Pro Bowl season.
Behind him, Los Angeles has a few blacks slated for free agency. Running backs Danny Woodhead, Dexter McCluster, and Ronnie Hillman can all leave via free agency. Each player provides a different skillset, but Hillman registered the most carries of that bunch.Woodhead is the most notable name in the Chargers’ backup running back group,
Each player provides a different skillset, but Hillman registered the most carries of that bunch. Woodhead is the most notable name in the Chargers’ backup running back group, but he was limited to only two games in 2016.
Regardless, it should not be surprising if none of these guys return to the Bolts.
Otherwise, Kenneth Farrow was the Chargers second-leading rusher. They may be okay letting him continue his role as Gordon’s back. L.A. could also add a running back from this stacked NFL Draft class.
Clearly, the Los Angeles Chargers have a few decisions to make leading up to NFL Free Agency. They could create even more free agents by cutting any number of players for cap space. Potential camp casualties include Steve Johnson, Darrell Stuckey, King Dunlap, D.J. Fluker, Brandon Flowers, and any other player that can save them money, per Over The Cap.
It remains to be seen what the L.A. Chargers will do with these pending free agents during this offseason.
[Featured Image by Alex Gallardo/AP Images]