By this point in 2018, most were impressed that the Chargers finally seemed to be changing their ‘business as usual’ routines. The 2017 season had been one of attrition, but the team’s fantastic 2nd half run gave them all of the hope in the world for Anthony Lynn and company.
The Chargers have a reputation of being gun-shy when it comes to splashy free agent signings and slam-dunk trades. The largest and most eye-opening move in the franchise’s history was the unusual QB trade between Eli Manning and Philip Rivers. As we all remember, the Chargers’ hand was largely forced to make some sort of move, but it still qualifies.
It is okay to be quiet in the offseason, but the Chargers seem to have made it into a business tenet.
There are a lot of rumors swirling around the NFL regarding some of the big name possibilities that will be on the table in just a few short days. The Steelers are the biggest losers of the season, with both Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown likely finding new pastures and drama being the primary cause of death for the Killer B’s. The Cardinals and the Giants will also have their own rumor mills going wild over the potential departure of big name players. As we have read through the list of potential landing spots (even the long-shot ones), the LA Chargers have been noticeably absent in each one.
Make no mistake, the 2018 Chargers were quite possibly the most well-rounded team in the NFL. It makes every bit of sense that there really isn’t a gaping need for the offseason, and thus there isn’t strong interest in free agents. However, there hasn’t even been as much as barely-substantiated rumors matching the Chargers with anyone outside of the organization.
The franchise tag window has closed, and no moves were made (no surprise—They have used the franchise tag only seven times in the team’s history). The Chargers are very clearly prioritizing their 2018 players over developing any sort of dream team.
In advance fo free agency, the #Chargers are working to retain standout LB Denzel Perryman, sources say. He’s a key part of their defense and when healthy, he’s been a force. This would maintain continuity in the front 7 if it gets done.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 6, 2019
The closest to a surprise this past month is that the Chargers are OK with letting Tyrell Williams test FA waters, and that Antonio Gates’ agent was inquiring about another sunset ride for the 39 year old TE.
As expected, Chargers did not use franchise tag. WR Tyrell Williams the Bolts’ top free agent is expected to hit the market.— Eric Williams (@eric_d_williams) March 5, 2019
To add it all up, it is still notably surprising that the Chargers aren’t at all feeding the faintest of rumors that any losses in WR, TE, or defense might be filled through free agency—except through re-signing their own free agents.
All-in-all, it points to an organization that is clearly aiming for the draft to fill their needs, not the free agent market. With that in mind, the Chargers will not have the luxury of taking the best player at their draft spot, but rather their strongest need in each round.
With the San Diego Padres being surprise suitors for a record-breaking Manny Machado contract, it would be reasonable to assume that the Chargers would consider a change in business policy. Heck, the signing also brought in a huge increase in merchandise and ticket sales (to the tune of $3Million already) for the Padres, something that the Chargers should certainly be taking note of.
At the end of the day, however, it seems business as normal for the Chargers. After 2018, maybe that’s the right decision after all.
-Jason “Blathering Blatherskite” Michaels