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Chargers 2021 Pre-Free Agency Position Review: Quarterbacks

Where does the quarterback room sit prior to free agency?

Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

We’ve got 13 days until the 2021 free agency period begins on March 17 so I thought we could go position by position and discuss where each group sits ahead of one of the most-frantic, yet exhilarating, times of the offseason.

First up today are the quarterbacks. Luckily, this arguably the one position on the Bolts that goes into the offseason with zero questions. The Bolts have their franchise signal-caller in Justin Herbert and they hope that will be the case for the next decade, at least.

On Roster: Justin Herbert, Easton Stick

Herbert blew away any and all expectations given to him prior to being selected with the sixth-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The consensus from media members and draft analysts alike were that he was definitely a top-three or four passer in the class, but that he was still a good distance away from the likes of Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa.

Oh, how fast things can change.

Herbert ended his rookie season having almost completely re-written the rookie record book for quarterbacks. On top of setting new rookie marks in touchdown passes, total touchdowns, and games with 300+ passing yards, he finished less than 40 yards shy of breaking Andrew Luck’s single-season passing yards record set back in 2012. He did all of this in just 15 games, I might add.

Despite having Pro Football Focus’ lowest-graded offensive line, Herbert still thrived while under pressure. Per PFF, Herbert led the NFL with 110 completions while under duress. Second place went to Buffalo’s Josh Allen, who finished with a distant 94.

Overall, Herbert was a revelation. It may still be too early to make such statements, but the former Oregon Duck has likely solidified himself as the Chargers’ quarterback for the next 10-12 years.

As for Stick, he is the only other quarterback on the roster at the moment with Tyrod Taylor scheduled to hit the free market. The Chargers’ former fifth-round pick back in 2019, Stick has shown some exciting play-making ability, but that was unfortunately only during his rookie season. With no preseason in 2020, Stick saw even less field time. Now that the coaching staff who selected him is gone, it’ll be interesting to see if Brandon Staley decides to keep him around as another young, intelligent player in the quarterback room. The old regime raved about Stick’s off-the-field intangibles and those are the specific type of qualities in a player that let’s them stick around for a long time as a backup.

Free agent(s): Tyrod Taylor (unrestricted)

Taylor headed into the 2020 season at the helm of the Chargers following the team’s decision to not re-sign Philip Rivers after his contract expired. The veteran quarterback, who had already dealt with plenty of bad breaks in recent years, was expected to be in the most-ideal team/opportunity situation he’s ever been a part of. With offensive weapons galore, it was easily the most talent he’d ever been surrounded by.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck in the form of a medical mishap that cost him the starting job and any future he had with the Chargers. Right, he’s still highly-respect around the NFL and does offer one of the better win and turnover percentages when it comes to free agent quarterbacks. He’s not every team’s cup of tea at the position, but he’s still a guy you can win with at this level.

Taylor deserves a chance to compete for a starting quarterback job in this league and that will unfortunately have to be elsewhere.