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LA Chargers Daily Links, 1/22: Chargers have called about Tom Brady

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL’s annual free agency period has often been quite boring and predictable when it comes to quarterbacks. I mean, I think the whole thing could be a little overrated, but especially so when we’re talking about anyone even resembling a franchise or championship-caliber QB. The biggest names to hit the market in the last 15 years were both due to injury concerns combined with young QBs in waiting: Drew Brees and Peyton Manning.

2020 could be a different story.

Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger were all drafted in the top 11 in 2004, they’ve all got remarkably similar numbers, have played with one team, and all potentially saw their careers with those teams come to an end in the same season. Manning is certain to leave, Rivers’ departure looks inevitable, and Ben will probably return to the Steelers, but in what shape? (Round, probably.) That’s not all, as Tom Brady is rumored to be on his way out of New England and the Saints even have decisions to make on both Brees and Teddy Bridgewater.

But don’t forget there’s the QB who lost the AFC Championship this year, the number one overall pick in 2015, the number two overall pick in 2015, and Dak Prescott. How could that be boring? Well, in most years, we’ll see most of these names stay where they’ve been. That’s certainly the case with Dak. You’d never usually see a team move on from a player like Rivers and then be able to immediately bring in an intriguing free agent veteran, but 2020 seems different.

Soon we’ll see just how different. Here are some links.

Chargers’ Jerry Tillery working to turn potential into production in Year 2 - ESPN

“I think it was a good year,” Tillery said. “I learned a lot. I have a better understanding of the professional game, how it works and my place in it — how I can help my team win and play great football.

”The year had its ups and downs, and I definitely learned from all of it. And I’m excited to use this year to come back bigger, faster and stronger for next year.”

‘Zero’ Chance Tom Brady Stays With Patriots, Linked to Raiders, Per Analyst - Heavy

Tom Brady added a lot of fuel to the fire in terms of free agent speculation when he decided to chat it up with Raiders owner Mark Davis while attending a UFC fight in Las Vegas on Saturday. The future Hall of Fame quarterback will be entering free agency for the first time in his career and it’s starting to look like a real possibility he could leave the New England Patriots.

“Vegas, LA Chargers, Saints, [Indianapolis], Washington have all called on Brady,” host Michael Felger said of Stewart’s report.

Chargers: Running back personnel changes may be coming in 2020 - Bolt Beat

While Ekeler had an incredible 2019, it’s very unlikely teams would give up their first or second-round picks to the Chargers for him. The first-round tender puts Ekeler’s salary at $4.4 million, while the second-round tender puts it at about $3.1 million. Since the Chargers probably won’t want to take risks and have salary cap space anyway, the first-round tender seems likelier.

Chargers have two of’s top 25 free agents - Bolt Beat

Coming in at No. 15 on the list is tight end Hunter Henry, who we talked about as being a possible target of the New England Patriots. The Chargers would obviously like to keep Henry in Los Angeles, but the Patriots do make sense as a possible destination.

What Tom Brady decides to do with his future could have a big impact on that.

4 Landing Spots Named For QB Philip Rivers - The Spun

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are generating a lot of buzz for Rivers, per NFL insider Jason La Canfora. Well, NFL Network’s David Carr apparently believes that would be an ideal landing spot for the 38-year-old quarterback.

Derrick Henry Will Be NFL’s Most Coveted Free-Agent RB; Where Could He Land? - Bleacher Report

The 2016 second-round pick just turned 26, and his light workload from his first three seasons—he carried the ball just 167 times per year on average before running it a league-high 303 times in 2019—could bode well for his chances of sustaining his Pro Bowl-level play for several seasons to come.

Still, you’ll find a lot of teams just aren’t willing to pay up for players at a devalued, volatile position. Henry might have been the best back in the league during the second half of the 2019 campaign, but his market will likely be pretty small in comparison to star players at premium positions.

NFL free agents 2020: Amari Cooper, A.J. Green lead this year’s available wide receivers - Cleveland

Amari Cooper of the Dallas Cowboys and A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals are the standouts in this year’s free-agent class among receivers. However, who are the best available? With the help of Pro Football Focus’ grades, the top 10 can be found below.

Going Inside Fascinating 2020 NFL Free Agent Quarterback Class - Forbes

Tom Brady

What to expect: This is the most fascinating case. One would expect Brady to stay with the team he has won a record six Super Bowl rings with for his 21st season. But there are reports that Brady will shop himself around the league. Common sense would suggest he is back in New England, but there is a lot of smoke building here.

Ranking the 10 NFL playoff losers’ chances of winning Super Bowl LV in 2021 - CBS Sports

6. Vikings

There’s bound to be some outrage with the Vikings ranked above the Packers considering the Packers swept the season series and made it one round further than the Vikings, but the Vikings finished the season with a far better point differential (plus-104 compared to plus-63), more expected wins (10.7 compared to 9.7), and a better ranking in DVOA (seventh compared to 10th), all of which are typically good predictors of future success.

Ranking the 4 dumbest mistakes from the NFL’s controversy-free Championship Sunday - SB Nation

Then late in the game, some fans on Twitter were outraged (shocker, we know) about a penalty called on the Titans. However, rather than turn into any real point of contention that would eventually lead to a rule change in the offseason, the “controversy” was quickly debunked by officiating experts.

So phew, we were spared this year from any egregious slipups that cost anyone a trip to the Super Bowl. But don’t worry. We still witnessed several dumb mistakes on the final Sunday of meaningful football before Super Bowl 54 (we’re cheating a little bit with the first one, but the 49ers played an almost flawless game and we wanted to include them).

Patrick Mahomes is built to rally the Chiefs from a Super Bowl deficit - SB Nation

Aided by drops and some general lethargy across the Chiefs lineup, Mahomes’ first quarters in the postseason have seen him play roughly as well as Kyle Orton did in Kansas City. This is in stark contrast to Mahomes’ numbers during the regular season, when he’s recorded a career 107.9 passer rating, a 20:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio, and run for 7.5 yards per carry in the first quarter.

With that bad stretch out of the way, Mahomes turns into one of the greatest playmakers the NFL has ever seen. Only one of his 11 playoff touchdown passes has come in the first 15 minutes of game time. He’s also run for six total yards in the first quarter of those games (3.0 yards per carry, zero touchdowns) and 119 yards in the final 45 minutes (6.6 yards per carry, two touchdowns).

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