It’s not just the Chargers who will have a ton of high-level free agents potentially available after the 2020 season. In fact, the 2021 group might be able to rival this season’s crop that included veteran quarterbacks Tom Brady and Philip Rivers.
In NFL Network’s recent list of the top-25 pending free agents, the Chargers only landed two among them, so you know there’s some real talent to be had.
The first one up for the Bolts is Keenan Allen, who author Gregg Rosenthal ranks at #9.
“After struggling with injuries early in his career, Allen hasn’t missed a game in three seasons. His route-running and smarts should age well.”
Rosenthal is correct. After missing basically 1.5 season’s worth of games from 2015-2016, Allen has perfect attendance from 2017-2019. He’s also averaged over 100+ catches, 1,200+ yards, and an even six touchdowns over that span. And as a player not necessarily known for speed, Allen’s crafted his game into one that should last well into his 30’s. If the Chargers signed him to a new deal, a significant drop in athletic ability won’t be on the forefront of their minds when he puts pen to paper.
The second player included from the Chargers is Hunter Henry. He comes in at #19.
Franchise-tagged in 2020, Henry gets a boost because of position scarcity. Every team wants a pass-catching tight end like Henry, but there aren’t enough to go around.
After scoring eight touchdowns his rookie season while playing behind Antonio Gates, the expectations for Henry skyrocketed. After another solid year playing alongside the G.O.A.T., Henry was poised for a breakout season in 2018 without Gates in the fold any longer. But tragedy struck in the form of a torn ACL that kept Henry out until the playoff game in New England.
After having another offseason to recover, Henry fell victim to a tibia plateau fracture against the Colts which caused him to miss another handful of games. Once back, Henry set career highs in both catches (55) and yards (652). Now that he’s on the franchise tag, Henry will be looking to put together his best year yet to show the Chargers that he’s simply a victim of some bad luck and not chronically bitten by the injury bug.