The 2020 offseason is going to feel like the longest break from football in history with the way things have been and will continue be going forward. With that in mind, there’s still plenty of time for NFL teams to get better and improve in this virtual age.
I took a swing at making my very-own to-do list for the Chargers and, although there is just three notes on it, I think each one significant for the success of this team not only in 2020, but for the years to come, as well.
1.) Sign Jason Peters or Kelvin Beachum
You, me, and everyone else who has some sort of skin in the game for the Chargers has been wondering for weeks now why the team has yet to pull the trigger on one of the veteran left tackles still on the market at this point in the offseason.
Both Peters and Beachum are far and away the best two available either would be sizable improvements over the current options of Sam Tevi and Trey Pipkins. Pipkins is likely another year away from being a serviceable player on the blindside and Tevi has unfortunately struggled a little too mightily over the years.
Kelvin Beachum has been keeping Sam clean: just 3 pressures allowed over his past 4 games (no sacks or hits), in which the Jets are 4-0. None allowed against the Raiders pic.twitter.com/7D0WhyRvQm— Michael Nania (@Michael_Nania) November 27, 2019
Getting a deal done with Peters is going to be the more difficult of the two but both should be affordable if structured correctly. Peters will likely command around $9 million per year while Beachum could be closer to $7 million. Even at his advanced age, I think Peters is worth that price tag. Beachum is not a bad consolation prize, either.
2.) Get the DBs in the best spots to maximize potential
The Chargers had a plethora of defensive backs in 2019 and the addition of Chris Harris Jr. this offseason threw a huge wrench, albeit a positive one, into everything. Everyone had their defined role. Now, with Harris Jr. bumping Desmond King out of the slot, Gus Bradley has to find a way to get all his best players on the field without reverting back to the 2018 postseason where they trotted out six or seven defensive backs for the majority of the snaps.
Many believe Desmond King will slot in at the team’s dime linebacker role since that’s the next-best spot for him to utilize his talents that he honed in the slot. There’s also been speculation about King seeing time at safety. This idea makes sense, too. Several weeks ago, Bradley mentioned he might want to try Rayshawn Jenkins at linebacker more and put more stuff on his player, in general. That could open up some snaps on the back end for King.
But then there’s the case of second-year safety and 2019 second-round pick, Nasir Adderley. He probably would have won the starting free safety gig eventually if his hamstring injury didn’t linger and eventually get worse. How much time does he see in 2020? How much will he have to fight and play on special teams before he earns a significant role on this defense? Time will tell.
Reminder that Delaware safety Nasir Adderley is a round 1 talent - pic.twitter.com/JmVPStULlZ— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) January 20, 2019
There’s a lot of bodies here so it’s likely not going to be smooth out of the gate. There’s also a lot of talent in this group and you’d hate to see one guy or two get lost in the shuffle. Let’s hope Gus can work some magic.
3.) Decide if they’re going to sign Hunter Henry to a long-term deal before the deadline
The deadline to sign Henry to a long-term deal is July 15. If they are unable to come to an agreement, Henry will play on the tag this season and be a free agent once again next year.
Which move is smarter for the Chargers? In an ideal world, they sign Henry and he plays in a minimum of 16 games in 2020. How likely is that scenario to come true, though? He’s unfortunately never played in all 16 regular games and hasn’t started more than 13 since he got drafted. Is this the year he finally shakes the bad juju?
If they don’t get a deal done before the deadline, and Henry gets injured while playing on the tag, will the Bolts still sign him long-term? I’m not so sure that’s what will happen. The Chargers decision to rush and get this deal done would essentially mean they would rather have Henry for 12-13 games instead of trying to find another guy who can stay on the field more. It’s not the worst way to view it, especially when you consider he’s one of the most complete tight ends in the NFL. The odds of finding someone of Henry’s talent level again so quickly isn’t that high.