INDIANAPOLIS — Los Angeles Chargers outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu, a strong pass rusher in his prime, has a healthy free agency market awaiting him with a major caveat.
Nwosu was born in Carson, grew up in Los Angeles in the Harbor City area, and played collegiately at USC. He prefers to remain with his hometown NFL team, and the feeling is mutual from the AFC West franchise, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.
“The Chargers definitely want him back,” a league source said. “And Uchenna would like to stay as long as the money is right.”
Sources: Colts, Packers, Bills, and Jets expected to have interest in Uchenna Nwosu
While remaining in Los Angeles is a viable scenario for Nwosu — sources emphasized –, he has plenty of options. NFL teams expected to be interested in Nwosu include the Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, whom sources predict will move on from Za’Darius Smith and sign Preston Smith to a new contract, along with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.
How much will it cost to sign Nwosu? At 25 years old, he would, ideally, want to receive a contract in the $10-13 million range. A lowball offer for him would be in the $7-9 million range.
Steady production from Nwosu
Last season, Nwosu recorded a career-high 5 sacks with 8 tackles for loss, 16 quarterback hits, and 1 interception. He received a career-high 15 starts and played in all 17 games. Nwosu did so despite gutting it out and playing with a labrum injury serious enough to potentially require offseason surgery. Even if Nwosu misses a portion of the offseason, he’s expected to make a full recovery by the season.
For his career, Nwosu has 15 sacks, 21 tackles for loss, and 45 quarterback hits. Athletic and tough at 6-foot-2, 251 pounds, Nwosu had 40 tackles and 40 quarterback pressures last season. And Chargers coach Brandon Staley waved the flag on retaining Nwosu.
“He’s got the toughness, versatility, and playmaking ability that really fits who we want to be on the edge,” Staley said at the end of the season. “I felt like he was able to express his full talents in our system. Hopefully, we’ll be able to continue to work with him.”