Every time players come and go from teams, some players will benefit from the end result and some will be stuck in a bad or even worse position when it comes to their individual potential with the team.
With that in mind, I wanted to jot down my initial thoughts on which Chargers players have benefitted the most from their recent free agent signings and which players saw their future dim a bit.
Let’s get into it.
QB Justin Herbert
Herbert is far-and-away the biggest winner of the Chargers’ offseason thus far as Tom Telesco and Brandon Staley are putting their money where their mouth is to get the proper protection in front of their star quarterback.
In 2021, Herbert will be taking snaps from the best center in the NFL this past season while also having a pair of massive guards on either side in 6’6 Matt Feiler and 6’5 Oday Aboushi. The quickest path to the quarterback will always be a straight line and that line is shorter for interior defenders, so reinforcing the interior like they did should pay huge dividends in allowing Herbert increased time in the pocket.
TE Donald Parham
At the moment Hunter Henry officially signed with the Patriots, Parham was the only tight left on the entire roster. It seemed like a foregone conclusion that he would be receiving an increase in opportunities this upcoming season and I actually believe that’s still the case despite the team signing veteran Jared Cook and bringing back Stephen Anderson.
Even when both Henry and Virgil Green were hurt, Parham was utilized as they team’s pass-catching threat at tight end over Anderson. With Cook likely the starter, I don’t see any reason why Staley wouldn’t want to also get the 6’8 Parham on the field to take advantage of mismatches as often as possible.
So in the end, Cook is a one-dimensional player who probably won’t see 80 percent or more of the snaps consistently from week-to-week and Anderson wasn’t a threat to Parham’s snaps last year as it was. The lack of a bona fide TE1 in this offense will certainly help erase any inherent limit on Parham’s potential in 2021.
S Nasir Adderley
Adderley lands on this list due to former Chargers safety Rayshawn Jenkins signing a three-year contract to go play in his home state of Florida with Urban Meyer and the Jaguars. Should Jenkins have been re-signed, he would have all but likely slid back to free safety with Derwin James returning from injury. That would have put Nasir Adderley in a Desmong King-esque situation where the former second-round pick would have been without a starting spot in his third professional season.
As things stand, Adderley has zero real competition on the roster to start opposite James. Alohi Gilman is the only other safety option and his best fit is at strong. There’s still the chance the Bolts bring back someone like Jaylen Watkins but I have a feeling they’ll potentially add a depth piece with one of their five picks on day three of the draft.
After an underwhelming 2020 campaign, Adderley will get a dose of Staley and his fix-all medicine that seemed to work for the likes of Darious Williams and Leonard Floyd.
OG/C Scott Quessenberry
When Mike Pouncey went down with a severe neck injury during the 2019 season, Q-Berry stepped in and played admirably at center. During his nine starts, he allowed just one sack and had only three penalties called against him. He played well enough to even get a shoutout from Daniel Jeremiah:
I love it when young players get their shot and crush it. Chargers center (61) Scott Quessenberry has been excellent since taking over the position. Chargers lost Pouncey and Lamp to injury but the run game has been revived because of Okung’s return and SQ’s solid play. pic.twitter.com/coY7i7SyaB— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) November 4, 2019
With both guards spots open prior to free agency, Q-Berry looked to have the opportunity to compete for at least one of them. After Feiler was signed, it still left one spot up for grabs. Now, with Aboushi likely penciled in as the starter at right guard, Quessenberry is relegated back to being the next man up along the interior. Yes, Aboushi’s name isn’t exactly written in Sharpie, but his 44 career starts and phenomenal play from a year ago bodes well for his chances to earn a starting spot in 2021.
Knowing this team and it’s injury history, however, Q-Berry is still just one play away from starting football games.