After the extravagant spending spree the Chargers went on a year ago, the 2023 offseason has been nearly silent by comparison. After spending big and making deals to acquire cornerback J.C. Jackson and Khalil Mack in 2022, the Chargers have only added veteran linebacker Eric Kendricks to offset the loss of Drue Tranquill. Otherwise, they’ve only re-signed a handful of in-house players such as Trey Pipkins, Morgan Fox, and Jalen Guyton ahead of the inevitable contract extension for Justin Herbert.
While those within the fan base would argue the in-house re-signings are still significant, it’s easy to get bored from there quiet offseason before jumping to the conclusion that it’s been a “bad” offseason for the Chargers.
In a new set of rankings by CBS Sports, NFL analyst Cody Benjamin ranked all 32 teams based on every move they’ve made since the Super Bowl came to a close in February. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Benjamin believes the Chargers have had one of the worst offseasons up to this point, ranking them 30th in the NFL.
“A mega extension for QB Justin Herbert might salvage an otherwise ho-hum offseason, which was destined following their spending spree in 2022,” says Benjamin. “LB Eric Kendricks might be primed for a rebound behind their talented front, but he’s not exactly a difference-maker at 31, either. Their first-round investment, WR Quentin Johnston, could be special, but he also feels a bit redundant with Mike Williams’ skill set in their attack. Maybe he’ll prove us all wrong.”
Like I touched on above, it sure feels like Benjamin is basing his opinion of the Chargers on how uneventful their offseason has been as opposed to analyzing their moves within the context of being cash-strapped.
The Chargers retained their starting right tackle for a great price, kept one of their best pass rushers on the team following a career year, and kept their special teams core together by re-signing JK Scott.
The move to sign Kendricks while letting Tranquill walk will be discussed at length throughout the upcoming season depending on how either’s season turns out, but overall it’s a wash by trading in youth for experience as an otherwise shallow position group for the Chargers.
Based on his final grade, it’s likely a solid assumption that Benjamin wasn’t a fan of the draft class as a whole, either. However, Benjamin immediately loses some credibility by calling Johnston’s skill set redundant due to Williams being on the team. Aside from winning in the deep parts of the field and their size, that’s about where the comparison stops. One wins through YAC and getting behind the defense while the other wins by being the better receiver at the catch point. Johnston is also much more adept at turning short passes into longer gains than Williams, although the latter has shown in recent years he can do some similar things when given the chance
Overall, I don’t necessarily agree with the grade being as low as it is since the team didn’t actually get much worse, if at all, but I understand why someone could see it as being one the lower end of the grade spectrum.