There is the old adage, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” And right now the New York Jets are currently in the business of some spring cleaning. With the latest release of David Harris and soon to be Eric Decker, Jets GM, Mike Maccagnan, has really committed to the rebuilding process. New York is sending a message that they are willing to depart with older players with bigger contracts because they do not fit their current model. The Jets know they aren’t going to compete and win this year, and instead are preparing for 2018 and beyond.
As New York attempts to build one of the worst rosters of all time, the Chargers are assembling a team to fight for LA (and win a fan base). Los Angeles can take advantage of the Jets generosity and look to fill some holes on their roster with some quality veterans.
There are two players that come to mind that could be possible cap casualties or trade targets for the Chargers. The first being Matt Forte. Forte is on the wrong side of 30 (31 years old) and will most likely forfeit his starter role to the younger Bilal Powell. Even with all of this going against him, Forte is far from being washed up. In fact, Forte had an extremely productive season in 2016. Last year, the Jets running back played in 14 games and had 813 yards, and 7 touchdowns, on 218 carries. He also added 263 receiving yards, and 1 touchdown, on 30 catches.
The Chargers would be a logical suitor for Forte if New York gives him his walking papers. Los Angeles does not have a reliable option at running back outside of Melvin Gordon. Branden Oliver has proven he cannot stay on the field, Andre Williams is to one dimensional, and Kenjon Barner has been a journeyman his whole career for a reason (he is not good).
Matt Forte would bring tremendous value to the Chargers backfield. Outside of his ability as a competent rusher, Forte is an excellent pass blocker (which is important when you have an offensive line as inconsistent as the Chargers). He’s also a threat coming out of the backfield and would be able to fill the void left by Danny Woodhead. Lastly, Forte would bring some much needed veteran leadership to a young backfield.
The Chargers new head coach, Anthony Lynn, is a former running backs coach. If you think Lynn would not be interested in a veteran like Forte after what he did to the Bills last year when Lynn was with Buffalo (30 rushes, 100 yards, and 3 touchdowns); then you must be sorely mistaken.
The other player Los Angeles should keep tabs on and pursue is Sheldon Richardson. It is no secret New York has been shopping Richardson this offseason. It was reported a couple of weeks ago the Jets attempted to enter negotiations with Tampa Bay, Seattle, and Indianapolis. Those talks never materialized into anything. New York is willing to part with Richardson because he only has a year left on his deal and they don’t want to pay the four-year veteran for a multitude of reasons (off the field concerns, and an overabundance of talent on the Jets defensive line makes him expendable). Talent is not the question when it comes to Richardson. He is a versatile defensive lineman that is one year removed from an 81.1 PFF grade as he played OLB, DT, and DE for the Jets.
The Chargers did not address the interior of their defensive line this offseason. Brandon Mebane is a real good player but he is a 32-year-old defensive tackle coming off a season ending injury. And Corey Liuget, the Chargers other starting defensive tackle, has seriously regressed over the last couple of years. In 2016, Liuget led the NFL with 495 pass rushes without recording a single sack which is the reason why Pro Football Focus awarded the Chargers defensive tackle with a 49.3 grade.
Now acquiring Richardson might be somewhat of a pipe dream because it would probably cost them a 4th round pick in next years draft. However, Los Angeles’ GM, Tom Telesco would be more than willing to get rid of that pesky 4th round selection in next years draft. It would be a shrewd move on the Chargers behalf because it would provide L.A. some insurance if Liuget continues his fall from grace. If that is the case, the Chargers can part with Liuget next year and save $6.5 million in 2018. Best case scenario, Los Angeles, does some creative accounting to somehow afford both Liuget and Richardson who would play along with Bosa and Ingram to formulate a dominant defensive line.
Sound off below Bolts fans. Should the Chargers entertain any of these cast offs from New York? Or would they be a waste of resources for a team that has limited cash flexibility?