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Despite everything, the Chargers are still a hot destination for this upcoming hiring cycle.

When prospective leadership candidates assess the teams they'd want to take over, their covet certain elements and the Chargers, in contrast to the current narrative, have many of them in the building.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers 2023 season has been an unmitigated disaster, Brandon Staley and Tom Telesco went “All-In” on several veteran contracts believing they could get further than their wildcard exit in 2022 aiming to go all the way to the promise land. The organization knew this would come at a cost in future years but they accepted that risk in pursuit of the ultimate goal believing in the talent of both the roster and the coaching staff. That gamble culminated in a humiliating failure and it has left the team reeling after hitting the full reset button on both the front office and the on-field team leadership. Therefore not only is the team in need of new people at the helm, they have been left with a diminished set of resources to start with.

On the face of it there are many elements that could put potential candidates off of even starting to think about how they could right this ship. The 2024 cap situation is going to be tough to navigate without a doubt, however if they look beyond the early tough decisions and into the potential future of this team, they are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

The most attractive asset the Chargers could possibly have is an established franchise quarterback under a long term contract, which they have in Justin Herbert. By the time this incoming regime have their feet under him, he could be outside the top five in APY with new contracts due on several top quarterbacks. So whilst today it seems expensive, time will pass and it will be a known and manageable sum the team can work around. The other areas of this roster that will draw prospective candidates are undoubtedly Rashawn Slater and Tuli Tuipulotu. They are both exciting young players who have the potential to be the best at their positions and whilst many analysts are saying everyone should be on the table, these two should not be considered expendable in my eyes.

The next asset to consider is Derwin James. He has had a down year, with the constant costly penalties and obvious mismatches in Brandon Staley's system having devalued him from a market-setting safety to an expensive question mark. However if you choose the perspective of a GM, he is still a positive asset because he is a high level talent that has been misused. This means that either your new staff can have the opportunity to get more out of him or you can convince someone to pay over a fair cost to try and gain that advantage themselves. Coaches and GMs are naturally arrogant, they have to be in their roles, and this means they will always believe they can resurrect elite tier talent no matter how far they have fallen. A smart incoming front office will take advantage of this fact if they have any doubt surrounding a bounce back to Derwin’s elite play of years gone by.

Then we enter in the next category of the roster; elite aging players on big cap hit contracts in Keenan Allen and Khalil Mack. Both of these players are having career years and should be considered in the top 10 at their positions despite their age. In terms of raw asset evaluation they are either candidates to be extended or traded, however to get rid of the only two positive storylines this season would be an emotional shock that could alienate fans. Either way the coin falls on these two, they are pieces to attract rather than detract. Joey Bosa and Mike Williams are two less valuable veteran assets as they are both coming off season ending injuries and carry heavy cap charges. They could be lower value trade targets than Allen or Mack but even an extra 7th round pick is a bonus asset to a GM trying to find ways to leverage situations into advantages over their competitors.

2024 may be a financial obstacle course but there is a sizeable pot to invest in 2025 and beyond with very few players needing market setting deals and a lack of funds to acquire expensive veterans this off-season, this will mean they can really attack the free agency market once the new leadership team have had a year to establish themselves. Timing is everything when rebuilding and I think this is key to how the team can leverage Herbert's contract into being a useful hinge point rather than any kind of hindrance.

The last element of real value is the clean slate opportunity that comes with a top five draft pick paired with a new duo at head coach and GM. This incoming team get to dictate how the Bolts will look over the next five years with many roster spots to be filled but importantly there are pieces in key positions that the team can either build around or use for trade value. The 2024 Chargers contain options for the new leadership to manipulate into a sustainable future.