The Chargers made their fair share of splashes in the early hours of free agency when they signed a pair of impact offensive lineman on top of re-signing their best young cornerback.
The five-year, $62.5 million deal given to Corey Linsley makes him the highest paid center in the NFL. He’s due $17 million in 2021 ($4 guaranteed salary, $13 million signing bonus) but his hit will drop to just $9 million in 2022.
The deal earned rave reviews from the folks at Pro Football Focus, earning a “very good” grade by authors Brad Spielberger and Ben Linsey.
“The top free agent center is off the board, and there is no team that could make better use of his services. The Chargers ended the 2020 season as PFF’s lowest-graded offensive line and could be looking to fill four starting positions. Center was one of those openings following Mike Pouncey’s retirement. PFF’s highest-graded center in 2020 isn’t a bad replacement, and he reunites with former Packer Bryan Bulaga.”
“Linsley put together the best season of his NFL career in 2020, and he has been one of the better centers in the league since Green Bay took him in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Across that seven-year span, he ranks fifth in PFF grade among qualifying centers.”
The deal done for Matt Feiler was an excellent move, as well. Of all the free agent guards this year, Feiler allowed the fewest pressures at 16, even better than Joe Thuney who signed his own massive deal with the Chiefs.
Feiler’s deal will pay him an average of $7 million over the next three seasons. It’s an excellent price for an underrated player who will have some familiarity with assistant offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett, the man who coached him in Pittsburgh the past two seasons. This deal earned a grade of “above average” from Spielerberger and Linsey.
“The Chargers make their second significant addition to the offensive line today by signing Feiler. He has started at two positions — right tackle in 2019 and left guard in 2020 — during his past two years in Pittsburgh, and he’s finished each of those seasons among the top half of players at the positions in PFF grade. He could theoretically start at either tackle or guard for Los Angeles, but guard seems like the more likely of the two given the Chargers’ depth at both positions.”
“Even if Feiler does end up at guard, his average-per-year figure slots in below the top tier at the position. Plus, it comes with the added bonus of him being able to kick outside should an injury occur or pieces shuffle along the offensive line. This is the type of move that Los Angeles should be making: adding quality starters on mid-level deals to eliminate clear weaknesses up front.”
I like the way they put that last statement regarding moves they believe the Bolts should be making.
“...adding quality starters on mid-level deals to eliminate clear weaknesses up front.”
The Chargers didn’t need to swing for the fences with each new deal this offseason. The Linsley move was needed and grabbing a quality guard for that price, especially after seeing how the Trai Turner experiment failed, makes it sparkle a bit more.
The Bolts still have two more holes to fill on the line, with one of them likely coming through the draft. Could both be filled late next month? Maybe, but I don’t think Brandon Staley would take that much of a risk in his first year at the helm.