What are the Los Angeles Chargers doing in free agency?

While not the busiest team during the NFL free-agency period, the Los Angeles Chargers enjoyed one of the best offseasons in terms of addressing needs. As we inch closer to the 2021 NFL Draft, the Chargers are a team set up for success.

Who has the Los Angeles Chargers signed in free agency?

In a division with the two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs, the Chargers made diligent moves to decrease the two teams’ gap during free agency.

Keeping Justin Herbert upright was a priority of the Chargers during free agency

Young QBs having their careers ruined due to the organization not keeping them free of pressure is a tale as old as the NFL itself. Los Angeles is determined to make sure this is not the fate of Justin Herbert.

The first significant upgrade came with the signing of former Packers center Corey Linsley. One of the best in the league, Linsley and the Chargers agreed to a five-year, $62.5 million deal that will make him the highest-paid center.

A 2020 first-team All-Pro, Linsley was the anchor and orchestrator of a Green Bay Packers OL that kept Aaron Rodgers upright for years. He made 99 starts over his seven-year career, and his signing came at the perfect time following Mike Pouncey’s retirement.

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Yet, the Los Angeles Chargers were not finished retooling the offensive line. They added RT Matt Feiler and G Oday Aboushi during free agency.

Feiler, a former Steeler, agreed to a three-year, $21 million contract. He played 621 pass-blocking snaps in 2020 and allowed just 17 pressures. He is a versatile lineman who can play both right and left tackle as well as work on the interior.

Aboushi joins the Chargers on a bargain one-year, $1.6 million contract. On 1,875 snaps, he conceded only 33 pressures while lining up at both left and right guard. 

Although he is on the wrong side of 30, Jared Cook will fill the TE role admirably

He will not replace Hunter Henry’s athleticism, but no one with realistic expectations would ask Jared Cook to be that player. Cook, now 33, signed a one-year, $6 million contract that buys the Chargers another year to figure out a long-term plan for the position. He is not just an inline tight end, though, as he logged 46% of his snaps from the slot for the New Orleans Saints.

Cook’s most significant asset will be as a red-zone weapon, an area where the Los Angeles Chargers struggled mightily in 2020. Over the past two seasons, Cook has hauled in an impressive 16 touchdowns. 

The Chargers offense is essentially a basketball team wearing pads as Cook is 6’5″, Donald Parham is 6’8″, and Mike Williams is 6’4″. Los Angeles will likely throw a dart at tight end in the 2021 NFL Draft as well.

While the defensive unit lost quite a bit of talent, the Chargers made a few moves

When you are playing against Patrick Mahomes twice a season, it helps to have a solid defense.

The Los Angeles Chargers already possessed a unit led by Joey Bosa, but they did lose some integral players in free agency. The likes of Melvin Ingram, Denzel Perryman, Rayshawn Jenkins, and Casey Hayward left the franchise and signed elsewhere.

At EDGE, Los Angeles brought in former Packer Kyler Fackrell to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. Fackrell has appeared in 73 total games, making 18 starts. He has recorded 127 tackles (88 solo), 20.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and an interception in his career. Across his five NFL seasons, Fackrell played over 1,000 snaps on special teams.

Chase Daniel will assume the backup QB role for 2021

When I grow up, I want to be a journeyman backup QB in the NFL like Chase Daniel. Think about it, you rarely get hit, the coaches and fans never blame you, and you have boatloads of money when you retire. After signing a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, Daniel has surpassed $30 million in career earnings. Not too shabby, right?

Related | NFL Team-by-Team Free-Agency Grades 2021 (So Far)

Over his 11-year career, Daniel has seen action in 69 games with only five starts. He has thrown for 1,694 yards, 8 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. This past season, he appeared in four games for the Lions, where he threw for 264 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions.

The Los Angeles Chargers took care of some of their own players in free agency

While bringing in new talent was the focus, Los Angeles managed to re-sign some of their own free agents.

Michael Davis brings perimeter help to the Chargers secondary

While they spent heavily on a few players, CB Michael Davis was a fantastic value as he re-signed with the Los Angeles Chargers for a three-year, $25.2 million contract that includes $15 million guaranteed. Davis started 26 games over the past two seasons at cornerback and racked up 157 tackles, 32 pass deflections, 5 interceptions, and a forced fumble through four seasons.

Related | NFL Power Rankings: Post-Free Agency 2021

He broke out in 2020, finishing with a career-high 62 tackles, 3 interceptions (1 returned for a touchdown), and 14 pass deflections.

Brandon Facyson and Michael Badgley re-sign with the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency

Brandon Facyson is a respectable depth player who can support the secondary as well as special teams. He brings good size at 6’2″ and is a low-risk signing. He appeared in 13 games in 2020 and recorded 16 tackles.

Kickers are people, too, even if they are unreliable and give themselves nicknames. Michael Badgley signed a one-year deal to remain in the Powder Blue during free agency. The “Money Badger” converted all 14 attempts from inside the 39-yard line last season. He struggled with the longer attempts, though, making just 8 of 13 kicks from 40-49 yards. From 50-plus, he connected on just 2 of 6. Badgley’s 72.7% conversion rate on field goals was the third-worst in the league.

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Tommy Garrett is a writer for Pro Football Network covering the NFL and fantasy football. You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

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