Good afternoon Bolts From the Blue!
We have another round of poll results prepared for you!
This week’s poll starts with a surprise. After the Chargers’ loss to the Ravens, fan sentiment saw a slight uptick from last week. It may be due to the stronger defensive performance Staley’s unit displayed against Lamar Jackson’s explosive offense. Or, it could be as our friend Tui1Hit put it:
(1) Absolutely “YES” to the direction the team is headed as my vote has now flipped to join the resilient 4% “Yes” voters to indicate that this team is heading towards major, needed changes at GM and coaches at end of the season. Will it actually happen? Probably not
This is some next-level thinking here... if each loss gets the team closer to a coaching change that you want to see, is a loss actually a step in the right direction for this team? It’s definitely a viewpoint worth merit.
Although I am not hoping for losses (and am not suggesting Tui is either!) there is another potential reward for putting up with this drag of a season.
At the beginning of the year, this team had way too much top-end talent for any prognosticators to have this team picking in the top-ten. Now, they’re sitting at the ninth overall position, with the possibility of falling even further with a fairly difficult schedule ahead.
Many contributors and community members at BFTB love the idea of trading down to gather additional draft picks, myself included. However, there’s a player that would be really, really hard for me to pass up, and I was curious to see how everyone would feel about this hypothetical scenario.
The leading opinion at BFTB is that should Brock Bowers be available, it may be worth bucking conventional wisdom and drafting the generational talent. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player move like Brock before; he rans with such balance and poise, the power he displays when running through defenders appears unassuming and understated. Brock doesn’t play like a cross-sport athlete that “chose” football among a bevy of options, he plays like a gridiron demigod, a throwback player that can physically impose his will with the ball in his hands, yet can also high-point a pass and box out a defender with the best of them.
He’s the dream target in the middle of the field that we’ve been dreaming to pair Herbert with.
F*** It, Brock Bowers Highlights— TPL Georgia (@TPLGeorgia) October 5, 2023
Next, we explore two position groups that we know need some serious upgrading in 2024. As of this writing, Elijah Dotson was dropped from the active roster to make room for Alex Erickson. Although he’ll likely be stashed back on the practice squad, the Chargers haven’t valued the abilities of Dotson or Spiller enough to carry them on the gameday roster since Week Eight, instead choosing to roll with only two active backs.
However, both of those backs are leaving in free agency next year. Unless the Chargers suddenly have a change of heart regarding Dotson or Spiller, they’ll need to plan for multiple additions to the running back room.
It’s unlikely the Bolts would rely on a committee of rookie running backs next year. A “sign one, draft one” approach seems far more likely. As such, we asked which UFA rookie back you’d like to sign, and the community heavily favored D’Andre Swift.
Swift would be the most expensive option of those listed, but with a suppressed running back market and Swift never establishing himself as a workhorse franchise back, it’s likely his market tops out at a Mile Sanders’ valuation. It’s important to remember that Tony Pollard, Josh Jacobs, and Saquon Barkley will be commanding the top-of-market attention. A four year, $6,350,000 APY contract could keep Swift’s first year cap hit in the two-to-three million range, only peak at just above $8 million, and have a very palatable rip-cord in 2026 if necessary. That’s a small price to pay for an explosive playmaker that can help address one of the Chargers’ biggest problem areas of 2023.
As Jayi identified, it’s hard to make a call on this position until we really know how the team, or a new coach, would feel about Isaiah Spiller as a lead back next year.
Not sure on FA RB to bring in depends on how the organization views usage of Spiller for next season.
Moving to another dire position of need, we take a look at the potential solutions to replacing Gerald Everett. Everett was signed as a journeyman tight end with a chance to secure his position as a TE1 with very little competition on the Chargers’ roster, but did little to truly stand out in the role. He’s good for some high-effort and fun plays from time to time, but hasn’t been a reliable target for Herbert to lean on in the middle of the field. He may be better suited as a role-playing tight end in a committee-style approach, or on a team committed to multiple tight end sets.
With his looming departure, how should the Chargers backfill the position, hopefully with an upgrade in production? Should they commit draft capital in Day One or Day Two, prioritize signing a top UFA like Hunter Henry, or sign a reclamation project like Austin Hooper was for the Raiders this year (which could even mean bringing Everett back for less)?
The top answer was to draft a tight end, with little separation between signing a TE1 and signing a reclamation project. This answer could change if the Chargers win enough games to push them out of a top draft position, but as it currently sits fans would prefer a top tight end prospect. Personally, I’d love to see them draft Brock Bowers and still sign a post-draft free agent to help bolster the reserve talent.
Bolt2424 seemed to mirror this sentiment, stating that both Bowers and Everett should be in the Chargers’ plans:
Resign Everett, he won’t be too pricey. He also doesn’t get the opportunities he should.
Pray Brock is available for our first pick.
Thank you again to everyone who participated! Keep your eyes out for another poll coming out soon!