Spearheaded by Keenan Allen, the “aliens” should return with a vengeance in 2017. Keenan Allen has had unfortunate injury luck throughout his first 4 NFL seasons, playing in a total of 38 games, and only nine games in his last two seasons. In 2015, Keenan Allen was on pace to shatter a whole bunch of records for the Chargers and in the league, but his year was cut short by a ruptured spleen. Last season, Keenan Allen tore his ACL in the first game of the season after being unstoppable for much of the first half. Hopefully, he can return and play his first full 16 games this coming season. If he can, he’ll easily be a top 5 WR in the league, with smooth moves, and with a huge chip on his shoulder.Hopefully he can return and play his first full 16 games this coming season. If he can, he’ll easily be a top 5 WR in the league, with smooth moves, and with a huge chip on his shoulder.
Tyrell Williams was a pleasant surprise this season, catching 69 balls for 1059 yards and 7 TDs. While he looks good on paper, he’s still a young receiver, and is suited best as a burner and not an every-down wideout. He cost Philip Rivers too many interceptions this season, and it’ll be a relief to see him relegated to lower on the depth chart.
Travis Benjamin was predicted by many to be a huge signing by the Chargers this offseason, but I was less than excited, considering his small stature. He ended the season with 677 yards and 4 TDs which is a disappointment for someone a four-year, 24 million dollar contract. Keenan Allen’s return should help the Chargers use Travis Benjamin more effectively, and he’ll be able to focus on what he’s good at... burning defenses deep.
Dontrelle Inman has been steadily improving over his 3 NFL seasons and ended this season with 810 yards on 58 receptions as the team’s #1 WR (on the depth chart). He is better suited to be the team’s #3 or 4 WR but performed admirably when thrust into the role. If he isn’t asking for a whole lot, expect the Chargers to re-sign him to a modest, multi-year contract.
Due to make 4.5 million this season, Stevie Johnson will most likely be a cap casualty, as the Chargers are currently in a cap-space bind due to the rash of freak injuries which plagued the Chargers last season, and he’ll only cost the team 1 million to cut. Expected by many to make a bigger splash than he actually produced, he’s been much of a disappointment his two years in Chargers blue, as he’s only played in 10 games, receiving for 594 yards and 3 TDs. It’s a shame he hasn’t panned out for the Chargers because seeing the excitement in Philip Rivers’ eyes when he was first signed gave me hope for someone many considered to be washed up.
Javontee Herndon, Isaiah Burse, Jeremy Butler, and Geremy Davis are all free agents who I don’t expect to be back. This leaves one spot left on the active roster for someone to fill in free agency or the draft. I don’t expect the Chargers to look at the draft or free agency for this position unless someone with great skill drops to the 3rd round or someone can be signed for cheap.
Players like Alshon Jeffery and Ted Ginn should be available in free agency, but Ted Ginn is too old, and Alshon Jeffery carries too much drama with him. Outside of that, Pierre Garcon (30), DeSean Jackson (30), and Kenny Britt (28) might be available (but probably not).
A big bodied receiver like Ricky Seals-Jones late in the draft would do some good for the Chargers. Outside of that, I haven’t looked at the prospects available because, with only one open spot, the Chargers will probably look to an undrafted rookie free agent or someone cheap in free agency.