Until 4pm on March 18th arrives, every member of the media will have their opinions on where each free agent should sign based on one reason or another. If your ESPN’S Matt Bowen, you just released an article detailing where you believe the top free agents should sign based on what team would be the best fit schematically.
While many free agents were given another team that would best fit their skill-set, two of the three biggest free agents from the Chargers were best left returning to the team.
I’ll give you a hint: Neither of them are Philip Rivers.
RB Melvin Gordon - Los Angeles Chargers
What Bowen had to say: “Yes, that’s all three running backs on my list who should return to their 2019 teams. Maybe the Dolphins make sense as an option for Gordon, but I see the best fit for him to head back to L.A. on a short-term deal, along with restricted free-agent running back Austin Ekeler.
After holding out for the first four games of 2019, Gordon didn’t produce high-end numbers, rushing for just 612 yards and averaging only 3.8 yards per rush. And I didn’t see the traits here of a top-10 back on tape. That’s why I believe there will be a limited market for Gordon, who should return to pair with the explosive-play ability of Ekeler.”
For Gordon’s sake, I think returning to the Chargers would be the best-case scenario. But no, I don’t personally want him back with the team. Gordon hasn’t proven to be worth the money he was asking for prior to the 2019 season and his play last season definitely hurt any chance he had of securing the bag. He’d be lucky to get over half the initial $12 millon+ that he reportedly was seeking. Anthony Lynn wants a guy he can pair with Austin Ekeler and that needs to be a rookie or someone on their rookie deal. The Chargers have bigger contracts ahead of them and signing two running backs to a second deal isn’t on their immediate priority list.
TE Hunter Henry - Los Angeles Chargers
What Bowen had to say: “When healthy, Henry has the route-running chops and frame to win matchups in the Chargers’ system. Health is a problem, though, as the 25-year-old missed the entire 2018 season and four games in 2019. But the talent is there for Henry to run intermediate in-cuts and stretch the seam and break outside on flood concepts.”
Henry’s biggest asset to any team he plays for is that he is the entire package at the tight end position. Bowen could have chosen any of the 32 NFL clubs to be a fit for Henry because his talent truly transcends the system. He can do it all and that’s why the Chargers must sign him to a long-term deal.
Projected Franchise Tags:— Spotrac (@spotrac) March 3, 2020
Dak Prescott: $27M/$32M
AJ Green: $18M
Yannick Ngakoue : $17.8M
Chris Jones: $16.1M
Shaq Barrett: $15.8M
Matthew Judon: $15.8M
Bud Dupree: $15.8M
Brandon Scherff: $14.8M
Justin Simmons: $11.5M
Hunter Henry: $10.6M
Derrick Henry: $10.3M
QB Philip Rivers - Indianapolis Colts
What Bowen had to say: “The Chargers’ inability to protect Rivers last season contributed to the 38-year-old tossing 20 interceptions. In Indianapolis, Rivers’ lack of movement traits would be cushioned by the Colts’ top-tier offensive line in pass protection. And the scheme fit works here with coach Frank Reich’s system: throw the crossers, work Hi-Lo combinations, utilize the tight ends and script deep-ball shots off play-action.”
This is exactly the team that Rivers needs to go to in order to maximize the time he has left in the NFL. The Colts are a perfect storm for the veteran QB I don’t think there is a close second. You’ve got a near-elite offensive line, two of his former coaches, and enough weapons around him to make the offense run through the pocket.