The Los Angeles Chargers have had a relatively quiet off-season, with their biggest moves being the signing of Mike Pouncey and bringing in a new kicker in Caleb Sturgis. They have had some good reason for that, though. They have a mostly sound roster right now (having only missed the playoffs because of missed kicks) and obviously did not think they needed to sign a big name to a new contract. (Unless Pouncey counts as a big name.)
With that said, there are still a couple positions where it would not hurt to have some depth or a new starter altogether. Given that this is a win-now team trying to make a playoff push in the late years of quarterback Philip Rivers‘ career, they may be well served by getting someone with experience. Trading draft picks for players has been a big trend this off-season. The Chargers should cash in on that and trade for a good player, as opposed to using all their draft picks on hit-or-miss rookies. It’s worth considering that they probably wouldn’t trade for anyone with a bigger contract. The Chargers aren’t generally a heavy-spending team in regards to money. As for what to send away, a second or third-round pick being on the table could be the best place to start. But if they can get away with lower draft picks for a good player, they should go for it.
The Los Angeles Chargers Should Trade Draft Picks for an Experienced Player
Trade for a Free Safety
The Chargers never re-signed Tre Boston, and at the moment it does not seem like he is coming back. That leaves Adrian Phillips and Rayshawn Jenkins at the free safety position. While Phillips is not a bad option, having a somewhat more established veteran might inspire more confidence.
A couple of options that would be solid and that would not cost the Chargers too much money-wise would be Antoine Bethea and D.J. Swearinger. There are other options, obviously. The Seattle Seahawks seem to be revamping their defense completely. Thus, it probably would not shock as much at this point if Earl Thomas (for example) got traded too. And the Chargers do have Gus Bradley, one of Thomas’ former defensive coordinators. But his more expensive contract might make that difficult. There are other cheaper veteran options out there anyway like Bethea and Swearinger.
Trade for a Linebacker
Besides kicking, the one area where the Chargers struggled in 2017 was the run defense. They were one of the worst in the league in that area. Brandon Mebane and even Damion Square have been decent defensive tackles, so they do not seem to be too much to blame. The linebacker position seems thinner, however. Denzel Perryman is good, but he has only played 19 games in the last two seasons. Jatavis Brown has shown promise, and Kyle Emanuel isn’t that bad. But that’s about it. They could definitely use some depth there and perhaps another starter altogether. A couple of possible options here are Benardrick McKinney and Wesley Woodyard.
Trade for a Wide Receiver
At the beginning of last year, the Chargers wide receiver depth chart looked pretty good. And it’s still not bad now. But let’s go through the roster. There is Keenan Allen, and there’s also Hunter Henry out at tight end. Then you have Tyrell Williams, who is a good speed option. Other than that, there’s Mike Williams. And if we go off his rookie year alone, he might be the next Laquon Treadwell. (That’s not good, by the way.) And Travis Benjamin? Good for bringing down a deep pass and nothing else.
While the Chargers might still survive with that same lineup (especially if Williams does better in Year 2), having a more consistent and dependable option aside from Allen might do them some good. Sterling Shepard and Martavis Bryant (the latter actually wanted to be traded midway through the season last year) are a couple of solid options.
Of course, it is quite possible that the Chargers could survive without making any such trades. However, if they did make one they could help better ensure a good season. And given that draft picks seem like a lesser price to pay (especially when you’re not a rebuilding team), the Chargers should at least consider making a move of this type before the draft. They are a team that would have less to lose than others if they gave up a second or third round pick.