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Just Win Baby

*** Official 2018 Chargers Thread ****

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Thoughts on the state of the roster, offense -- expanded and reposted below.

Edited by Just Win Baby
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Thanks for providing the PFF rankings, JWB. I like your analysis too.

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1 hour ago, bicycle_seat_sniffer said:

If they kept lambo they eould of been at least 10n6..probably 11n5....

 

That was one of the most bizarre decisions I've ever seen, including how they went about arriving at it.

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Draft wise...

No QB yet....

Go DT first round.....some LB depth....that Defense going hum even more next year

Glad they kept Off/Def coordinators

London game gonna be fun!

 

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Expanding on my initial post on offense.

Here is how the offense performed in 2017, per PFR:

  • Overall - #13 in points scored, #4 in yards gained, #5 in first downs gained, #4T (4th fewest) in turnovers
  • Pass offense
    • 366/583 (62.8%), 4431 passing yards (277 ypg, 7.6 ypa), 28 TDs passing, 11 interceptions, and 18 sacks
    • #1 in passing yards, #6T in passing TDs, #8 in passer rating, #9T (9th fewest) in interceptions, #1 (lowest) in sacks and sack percentage
  • Run offense
    • 419/1585/10 rushing (99 ypg, 3.8 ypc)
    • #24 in rushing yards, #21T in rushing TDs, #26 in ypc
  • Penalties - #15 (15th most) in penalties accepted, #16 (16th most) in penalty yards

It is no surprise to anyone who follows the Chargers that their pass offense was elite this season, while their run offense was poor. Overall, the team failed to capitalize on too many scoring chances, as shown by the disparity in yards gained vs. points scored.

That had a lot to do with the team's debacle at PK -- the Chargers were last in the league with 67% field goal percentage and #30 in extra point conversion percentage. That alone probably cost the team 1-2 wins and a playoff berth. But the team also was not great in the red zone, scoring TDs on just 46.8% of their red zone trips, which was #28 in the league. This was supposedly one of the reasons the Chargers wasted used the #7 pick in the 2017 draft on Mike Williams...

The PK situation is obvious and will be addressed. That alone suggests the Chargers would be a contender next season, even without any other major improvements, but they will (hopefully) make other improvements via free agency and the draft. So there is reason to be optimistic as we enter the offseason.

On to the roster. All snaps and ranks are from PFF; all contract data is from spotrac.

  • QB
    • PFF ranks (out of 73 graded QBs [out of 46 graded QBs with 100+ snaps]):
      • Rivers - 1014 snaps - #8 overall, #7 passing
      • Clemens - 31 snaps - #51 overall, #52 passing
    • Contract situation:
      • Rivers - 2 years remaining on contract; $22M cap hit in 2018
      • Clemens - UFA
      • Jones - 2 years remaining on contract; $630K cap hit in 2018
    • Comments:
      • Rivers was amazingly good this season except in his 2 games vs. the Chiefs, particularly after the coaching staff stopped holding back on passing early in games after the first 4 games. He looks very capable of playing at a Pro Bowl level for 2-3 more seasons.
      • Clemens is a UFA who will be 35 before next season, and he isn't a good QB. The team has Cardale Jones under contract through the 2019 season, so it seems reasonable for the team to let Clemens walk this offseason and move Jones to the #2 spot
      • Chargers should not draft QB in 2018 draft
  • HB
    • PFF ranks (out of 127 graded HBs):
      • Gordon - 746 snaps - #16 overall, #17 running, #15 receiving, #114 pass blocking
      • Ekeler - 195 snaps - #39T overall, #62 running, #18T receiving, #44 pass blocking
      • Oliver - 106 snaps - #66 overall, #54 running, #76 receiving, #88 pass blocking
      • Williams - 13 snaps - #115 overall, #120 running, #68T receiving, #35 pass blocking
    • Contract situation:
      • Gordon - 1 year remaining on contract; $3.4M cap hit in 2018
      • Ekeler - 2 years remaining on contract; $557K cap hit in 2018
      • Oliver - UFA
      • Williams - ERFA; $600K in 2017 (if he had been active)
      • Farrow - RFA; $632K in 2017
      • Hansbrough - ERFA; $540K in 2017 (if he had been active)
    • Comments:
      • Gordon was very uneven this season, but he finished the season relatively strong, averaging more than 4 ypc in 4 of his last 5 games and catching 20 passes over those 5 games. He also played 16 games for the first time, and he had only 1 fumble on the season. I still don't think he is the guy long term, and I hope the team does not pick up his 5th year option this offseason... but I think they will.
      • Ekeler looks like a nice find who could grow into a poor man's Woodhead. He looks like a nice complement to Gordon, since he is similarly good at receiving and much better at pass blocking, suggesting he can take a lot of the Woodhead role snaps (passing downs, two minute drill, etc.).
      • Oliver, Williams, Farrow, and Hansbrough all seem like JAGs at best. I would like to see the team let all of them walk, and draft a RB in the 3rd round or later to serve as the 3rd RB and possibly the ultimate successor to Gordon. They need someone better than Oliver/Williams/Farrow/Hansbrough as insurance if Gordon gets hurt.
  • FB
    • PFF ranks (out of 24 graded FBs):
      • Watt - 142 snaps - #20 overall, #21 run blocking, #11 pass blocking, #17 running, #2 receiving
    • Contract situation:
      • Watt - 2 years remaining on contract; $662K cap hit in 2018
    • Comments:
      • Watt was drafted primarily to block for Gordon, and he has been pretty bad at that. But his personal connection with Gordon plus the fact that he added a little value in the passing game suggests he will remain on the roster.
  • WR
    • PFF ranks (out of 199 graded WRs):
      • Allen - 895 snaps - #5 overall, #5 receiving, #176T running, #13 run blocking
      • Benjamin - 568 snaps - #55T overall, #68 receiving, #7 running, #114T run blocking
      • Tyrell Williams - 851 snaps - #129 overall, #115T receiving, N/A running, #169T run blocking
      • Mike Williams - 234 snaps - #179 overall, #184T receiving, N/A running, #80T run blocking
    • Contract situation:
      • Allen - 3 years remaining on contract; $9.65M cap hit in 2018
      • Benjamin - 2 years remaining on contract; $7M cap hit in 2018, $2.5M cap hit in 2018 if released/traded
      • Tyrell Williams - RFA; $615K in 2017
      • Mike Williams - 3 years remaining on contract; $4.5M cap hit in 2018
      • Davis - RFA; $615K in 2017
      • Burse - RFA; $615K in 2017
    • Comments:
      • Allen is elite. Not only is he a great receiver, his run blocking is outstanding and underappreciated. Glad to see him make it through a season healthy.
      • Tyrell is a RFA, but I assume the team will re-sign him for 2018.
      • The Chargers are in a bit of a quandary. I had been assuming for a while that they would release Benjamin this offseason, given they could save $4.5M on the 2018 cap by doing so and given he has seemed replaceable as a punt returner, which was a big part of his promise when the Chargers signed him. But Mike Williams had a lost season and hasn't proven he can stay healthy, and Tyrell Williams followed up his promising 2016 season with a disappointing performance in 2017. Given the team traded Inman midseason, they might feel compelled to keep Benjamin for another season to protect against injury and/or poor performance.
  • TE
    • PFF ranks (out of 113 graded TEs):
      • Henry - 597 snaps - #2 overall, #4 receiving, #7 run blocking, #63 pass blocking
      • Gates - 499 snaps - #23 overall, #15 receiving, #59 run blocking, #85 pass blocking
      • McGrath - 218 snaps - #27 overall, #43T receiving, #24 run blocking, #21 pass blocking
      • Cumberland - 148 snaps - #102T overall, #106T receiving, #83 run blocking, #13 pass blocking
    • Contract situation:
      • Henry - 2 years remaining on contract; $1.7M cap hit in 2018
      • Gates - UFA
      • McGrath - RFA; $615K in 2017
      • Cumberland - UFA
      • Culkin - 2 years remaining on contract; $559K cap hit in 2018
    • Comments:
      • Henry is elite. Hope the coaching staff can figure out how to use him more effectively in 2018.
      • Gates was surprisingly good at age 37. He has indicated that he may not want to retire, which could create a tough situation - he cost the Chargers $5.4M on the 2017 cap, and that is too much to pay for a player who should clearly be a backup at his position... will he take a reasonable 1 year deal to stay? I suppose he could still provide value as Henry insurance, like he provided at the end of 2017.
      • McGrath was also surprisingly good as a reserve. He is a RFA and should return.
      • Cumberland was pretty terrible. He is a UFA and the team should let him walk and move Culkin into the rotation.
  • T
    • PFF ranks (out of 124 graded Ts):
      • Okung - 926 snaps - #26 overall, #13 pass blocking, #79 run blocking
      • Hairston - 23 snaps - #58 overall, #69 pass blocking, #52 run blocking
      • Barksdale - 657 snaps - #82T overall, #40T pass blocking, #122 run blocking
      • Tevi - 135 snaps - #84 overall, #68 pass blocking, #106 run blocking
      • Schofield - 407 snaps - #88 overall, #94T pass blocking, #55 run blocking
    • Contract situation:
      • Okung - 3 years remaining on contract; $15M cap hit in 2018
      • Hairston - I'm not sure if Hairston is a UFA or has one year remaining on his contract; if the latter, he has a $1.5M cap hit in 2018
      • Barksdale - 2 years remaining on contract; $5.7M cap hit in 2018, $2M cap hit in 2018 if released/traded
      • Tevi - 3 years remaining on contract; $595K cap hit in 2018
      • Schofield - UFA
    • Comments:
      • Okung worked out well and stabilized the LT position. He is not a long term answer at LT, but he is the guy for 2018 at least.
      • The team can save $3.8M on the 2018 cap by releasing Barksdale, and they should do that. His pass blocking wasn't terrible this year, but his run blocking is unacceptably bad.
      • Tevi showed some promise for a rookie and should remain on the roster as depth.
      • Hairston was placed on IR due to blood clots. If he is healthy enough to return, IMO the team should keep (or re-sign him if he is a UFA) and let Schofield walk. If he isn't, I suppose Schofield could be re-signed, but he isn't very good.
      • Tevi and Hairston are fine as depth but not as regular starters, so the team will need to find a starting RT.
  • G
    • PFF ranks (out of 123 graded Gs):
      • Feeney - 665 snaps - #59 overall, #95T pass blocking, #41 run blocking
      • Slauson - 424 snaps - #79 overall, #49 pass blocking, #91 run blocking
      • Wiggins - 1040 snaps - #111T overall, #88 pass blocking, #112 run blocking
    • Contract situation:
      • Feeney - 3 years remaining on contract; $865K cap hit in 2018
      • Lamp - 3 years remaining on contract; $1.5M cap hit in 2018
      • Slauson - UFA
      • Wiggins - UFA
      • Clark - 2 years remaining on contract; $502K cap hit in 2018
    • Comments:
      • Feeney had a good rookie season and should continue to start.
      • Lamp will return and should start at RG, unless the team decides to move him to RT to replace Barksdale.
      • Wiggins played over 1000 snaps this season, and the team needed that from him once Lamp and Slauson both got hurt, but he really isn't good enough to be starting. He and Slauson are both UFAs. I would like to see the team re-sign Slauson and let Wiggins walk.
  • C
    • PFF ranks (out of 47 graded Cs):
      • Pulley - 1054 snaps - #45 overall, #46 in pass blocking, #44 in run blocking ( :X )
    • Contract situation:
      • Pulley - 1 year remaining on contract; $631K cap hit in 2018
    • Comments:
      • Pulley was nearly the worst C in the league this season. Looking at the run blocking grades for Pulley, Wiggins, and Barksdale, it is no wonder the running game was so challenged; they had to be the worst right side run blocking unit in the league. The team cannot go forward with Pulley as the starter at C. I would prefer to see them sign a veteran, or, worst case, re-sign Slauson and put him back at C.

Here is how I would like to see the offensive roster shape up:

  • QB (2) - Rivers, Jones
  • RB (3) - Gordon, Ekeler, TBD rookie
  • FB (1) - Watt
  • WR (5) - Allen, Benjamin, Tyrell Williams, Mike Williams, Geremy Davis or TBD rookie
  • TE (3) - Henry, McGrath, Culkin
  • OL (9) - LT Okung, LG Feeney, C TBD veteran free agent, RG Lamp, RT TBD veteran free agent, C/G Pulley, C/G Slauson, T Hairston, T Tevi

Normally I like to allocate 24 roster spots to offense. This is only 23, leaving room for another RB, TE, or possibly OL, though I think carrying 10 OL is extreme. I suppose it will be Gates or a 4th RB.

This requires:

  • Releasing Barksdale and Andre Williams and letting Clemens, Oliver, Cumberland, Schofield, and Wiggins walk
  • Re-signing Tyrell Williams, McGrath, Slauson, and Hairston (if he is a UFA)
  • Signing 2 veteran free agent OL - one to start at RT and one to start at C
  • Drafting a RB

Thoughts?

Edited by Just Win Baby
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Here is how the defense performed in 2017, per PFR:

  • Overall - #3 in points allowed, #15 in yards allowed, #6T in first downs allowed, #6 in turnovers forced
  • Pass defense
    • Allowed 329/524 (62.8%), 3156 passing yards (197.3 ypg, 6.0 ypa), 17 TDs passing, while intercepting 18 passes and getting 43 sacks
    • #3 in passing yards allowed, #3 in passing TDs allowed, #4 in passer rating against, #6 in interceptions, #5 in sacks and sack percentage
  • Run defense
    • Allowed 430/2098/11 rushing (131.1 ypg, 4.9 ypc)
    • #31 in rushing yards allowed, #32 in ypc allowed
  • Penalties - #12 (12th most) in penalties accepted, #7 (7th most) in penalty yards, #19T (19th most) in first downs allowed via penalties

It is no surprise to anyone who follows the Chargers that their pass defense was elite this season, while their run defense was poor. However, I suspect many do not realize just how bad the run defense was - worst in the NFL in ypc allowed and second most rushing yards allowed. This disparity is at least partly philosophical, i.e., the Chargers were willing to concede the run and focus on stopping the pass. I don't know where to find formation breakdown data, but we can see this from the snap counts - 5453 defensive snaps for DBs compared to 1818 for the LBs, per PFF.

However, it is not all philosophy, as shown by the run defense grades below. It is clear that improving the run defense needs to be a priority.

One thing I did not see reported on much during the season is the defensive penalties. Until gathering the info for this post, I didn't realize they had the 7th highest defensive penalty yards. That needs to be improved going forward.

On to the roster. All snaps and ranks are from PFF; all contract data is from spotrac.

  • Interior DL
    • PFF ranks (out of 173 graded interior DL):
      • Liuget - 415 snaps - #36 overall, #84T run defense, #15 pass rush
      • Philon - 509 snaps - #85T overall, #75T run defense, #97 pass rush
      • Square - 361 snaps - #126 overall, #131 run defense, #101 pass rush
      • Palepoi - 269 snaps - #130 overall, #68 run defense, #166T pass rush
      • McCain - 242 snaps - #147T overall, #114T run defense, #166T pass rush
      • Mebane - 536 snaps - #168 overall, #157T run defense, #169 pass rush
    • Contract situation:
      • Liuget - 3 years remaining on contract; $9.5M cap hit in 2018, $3M cap hit in 2018 if released/traded
      • Philon - 1 year remaining on contract; $735K cap hit in 2018
      • Square - 1 year remaining on contract; $2.6M cap hit in 2018
      • Palepoi - RFA, $615K in 2017
      • McCain - RFA, $615K in 2017
      • Mebane - 1 year remaining on contract; $5.5M cap hit in 2018, $1M cap hit in 2018 if released/traded
    • Comments:
      • Liuget rebounded this season, though he still is not close to living up to his contract, which is 14th highest in the NFL at DT. After last season, he had to improve to avoid being a cap casualty this offseason. I think he did just enough to return, but he is still on notice... next offseason, the team will be able to save almost $9M against the 2019 cap by releasing him.
      • Philon was a pleasant surprise this season and made substantial improvement over last season... but the fact that he is the team's second best interior DL is a problem. Ideally, he needs to play fewer snaps as the third or fourth guy in the rotation.
      • I expect Palepoi to be back, given he will be relatively cheap and given he graded out as the best run defender in the interior DL.
      • Mebane is one of the few worst interior DL in the league at this point and has to be released. That will free up $4.5M in 2018 cap money. The fact that he played more snaps than any DL on the team is a big reason the run defense was so bad.
      • Square regressed from last season, and he should be on notice entering training camp. Given the team could save $2M against the 2018 cap by releasing him, he is not a lock to make the roster. It would actually be a great development if the team brought someone in who can beat him out.
      • PFF listed McCain as an interior DL, whereas I think of him as an edge defender, though I admit I did not specifically pay close attention to where he lined up this season... a few of these guys probably split time between DT and DE, and McCain must have been one of them. He did not play well at all. Given he will be relatively cheap, I assume he will be back in training camp, but he is not a lock to make the roster. Given his contract, I'd like to see him earn a spot with improved play.
      • Assuming the team keeps Liuget, I still think 2 high quality DTs need to be added, with focus on run defense. I'd like to see one quality veteran and one high draft pick added. If Liuget is released or traded, that means adding 1 more, perhaps a less expensive veteran.
  • Edge defenders
    • PFF ranks (out of 176 graded edge defenders):
      • Ingram - 523 snaps - #6 overall, #3T pass rush, #24T run defense
      • Bosa - 527 snaps - #7 overall, #1 pass rush, #67 run defense
      • Attaochu - 59 snaps - #97 overall, #109 pass rush, #80 run defense
      • Rochell - 52 snaps - #162 overall, #124 pass rush, #174 run defense
    • Contract situation:
      • Ingram - 3 years remaining on contract; $13.9M cap hit in 2018
      • Bosa - 2 years remaining on contract, plus presumably the 5th year option in 2020; $7.1M cap hit in 2018
      • Attaochu - UFA
      • Rochell - 1 year remaining on contract before becoming ERFA; $555K cap hit in 2018
    • Comments:
      • The first year return on Ingram's big contract was outstanding. Telesco hasn't had a great track record on big contracts, but this one looks like it will be one of his best decisions at this point. :thumbup: 
      • The Bosa-Ingram pairing is the best pairing of edge defenders in the league, and it's not particularly close. These two combined with the Chargers strong CBs should mean the Chargers will have a strong defense for at least the next few years, which is why the team should be approaching the next 2-3 years as a window for a championship (so, for example, they should not be using any high draft picks on a QB...).
      • The Attaochu situation is a mystery. He played great in 2015 and then fell off a cliff in 2016. I didn't understand why his play and snaps dropped off so dramatically in 2016 and assumed the Chargers would release him. The fact that they didn't is particularly confusing given he only played 59 snaps in 2017; they wasted a roster spot and $1.3M in 2017 cap space on him. Given the entire bizarre situation, I assume he will not be back.
      • Rochell was terrible, albeit in very limited snaps. He is young and cheap, so I assume he will be back as the last DL on the roster. But his roster spot is certainly not safe.
      • I am really counting McCain as an edge defender, but the depth behind Bosa and Ingram seems pretty weak at this point. I would like to see some improvement, whether that is through McCain and/or Rochell improving, Landrum moving up from the practice squad, or adding better player(s).
  • Linebackers
    • PFF ranks (out of 167 graded LBs):
      • Toomer - 266 snaps - #24 overall, #31 run defense, #42 coverage, #30 pass rush
      • Emanuel - 301 snaps - #40 overall, #81 run defense, #29T coverage, #89T pass rush
      • Brown - 504 snaps - #57T overall, #72 run defense, #52 coverage, #84 pass rush
      • Perryman - 273 snaps - #75 overall, #121 run defense, #41 coverage, #157 pass rush
      • Pullard - 474 snaps - #159 overall, #131 run defense, #159 coverage, #54 pass rush (on just 8 pass rush snaps)
    • Contract situation:
      • Toomer - UFA
      • Emanuel - 1 year remaining on contract; $760K cap hit in 2018
      • Brown - 2 years remaining on contract; $676K cap hit in 2018
      • Perryman - 1 year remaining on contract; $1.5M cap hit in 2018
      • Pullard - 1 year remaining on contract; $705K cap hit in 2018
    • Comments:
      • Toomer was very good when he played. I did not understand his lack of playing time this season, especially in comparison to Pullard. There must be something there that wasn't evident to me, since he played almost twice as many snaps last season. I would like to see him re-signed, but his 2017 playing time suggests that he won't be.
      • Pullard was absolutely terrible. I know Bradley had Pullard in Jacksonville, so in theory he was familiar with Bradley's system, but I don't really care. He was worse than all of the other LBs by a huge margin, yet played 474 snaps. He contributed the most of all of the LBs to the terrible run defense. He should be a backup at best, but his playing time in 2017 when the team had better alternatives suggests that Bradley will continue to play him a lot. :thumbdown: 
      • Emanuel was solid in a focused role on base/run downs.
      • Brown was not as good as in 2016 but is still a solid player, especially given his contract.
      • Perryman's run defense really slipped this season. He only played 103 snaps in run defense, and he may not have been 100% for some of them, so perhaps there is an excuse and he can rebound next season. He will need to play better to earn a second contract.
      • It is interesting to note that Brown is the only LB currently under contract for 2019. Given that and the likely departure of Toomer, their best performing LB, I would like to see the team use a high (1st or 2nd round) draft pick on a LB who can be an impact player and play a high snap count.
  • Cornerbacks
    • PFF ranks (out of 181 graded CBs):
      • Hayward - 1003 snaps - #1 overall, #1 coverage, #170 run defense, N/A pass rush (1 pass rush snap)
      • Williams - 1004 snaps - #10 overall, #11 coverage, #55T run defense, N/A pass rush (no pass rush snaps)
      • King - 717 snaps - #14 overall, #13 coverage, #15 run defense, #8 pass rush
      • Verrett - 63 snaps - #158 overall, #144T coverage, #181 run defense (yes, worst in the league), N/A pass rush (no pass rush snaps)
    • Contract situation:
      • Hayward - 1 year remaining on contract; $5.1M cap hit in 2018
      • Williams - ERFA, $540K in 2017
      • King - 3 years remaining on contract; $625K cap hit in 2018
      • Verrett - 1 year remaining on contract if team does not drop his 5th year option; $8.5M cap hit in 2018
      • Davis - 2 years remaining on contract; $555K cap hit in 2018
      • Mager - 1 year remaining on contract; $705K cap hit in 2018
    • Comments:
      • Hayward is elite in coverage. I would like to see Telesco extend his contract this offseason as long as he can extend him for less than top 5 CB money ($14M per year). If that is what it will take, there is no reason not to let this season play out and then use the franchise tag on him if necessary.
      • Williams was the surprise player of the year. He was so good, it actually turned out to be a good thing Verrett was injured. The team has now found a great corner who is under team control at a cheap price for a few more years... one of the most valuable things in football. And the bonus is that his play enables the team to release Verrett if he can pass his physical rather than paying him $8.5M in 2018... meaning that money can be diverted to other roster needs.
      • King may have been the steal of the 2017 draft. He is definitely in the running for Telesco's best draft pick. Lattimore might win DROY, but King deserves consideration.
      • As mentioned, the team should drop Verrett's 5th year option and let him walk if he can pass his physical. No way he is worth $8.5M to the Chargers if Hayward, Williams, and King are healthy. It was not smart to pick up his option in the first place.
      • Davis and Mager are special teams players who should not see the field on defense barring injury. Both of them are replacement level players who could be upgraded, whether by better players or, in Mager's case, cheaper players. Davis's salary is cheap enough I could see keeping him.
  • Safeties
    • PFF ranks (out of 152 graded safeties):
      • Addae - 1030 snaps - #23T overall, #32 coverage, #44 run defense, #9T pass rush
      • Boston - 1039 snaps - #34T overall, #9T coverage, #134 run defense, #126T pass rush
      • Jenkins - 76 snaps - #70T overall, #55 coverage, #103 run defense, N/A pass rush (2 pass rush snaps)
      • Phillips - 521 snaps - #115 overall, #52 coverage, #143 run defense, #136 pass rush
    • Contract situation:
      • Addae - 3 years remaining on contract; $5.5M cap hit in 2018
      • Boston - UFA
      • Jenkins - 3 years remaining on contract; $721K cap hit in 2018
      • Phillips - UFA
    • Comments:
      • Addae had a very good season in the first year of his new contract. Like Ingram, the first year return on that big contract was very good.
      • Boston turned out to be a nice upgrade on Lowery. I think it makes sense to re-sign him if the price is reasonable.
      • Phillips didn't play great, but his role was mostly to play in place of a linebacker in passing situations, often as the 6th DB on the field. That put him out of position against the run, but he was there more to play coverage, and he did that pretty well. Like Boston, I think it makes sense to re-sign him if the price is reasonable, and I expect Phillips will be cheaper than Boston.
      • Jenkins played fine in limited opportunities and has potential to earn a larger role in coming seasons.

Here is how I would like to see the defensive roster shape up:

  • Interior DL (6) - Liuget, TBD veteran free agent, TBD rookie (1st/2nd round draft pick), Philon, Palepoi, Square
  • Edge (5) - Bosa, Ingram, TBD veteran free agent, 2 of McCain/Rochell/Landrum
  • LB (5) - Emanuel (Sam), Perryman (Mike)Brown (Will), TBD rookie, Pullard
  • CB (6) - Hayward, Williams, King, Davis, TBD rookie/UDFA, TBD rookie/UDFA
  • S (4) - Addae, Boston, Phillips, Jenkins

This requires:

  • Releasing Mebane, Mager, and Verrett and letting Toomer and Attaochu walk
  • Re-signing UFAs Boston and Phillips and RFAs Palepoi and McCain
  • Signing veteran free agents at DT and DE; ideally the DT would be good enough to start, while the DE will provide veteran depth
  • Drafting a DT early and a LB at some point

Thoughts?

Edited by Just Win Baby
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2018 looks like a rough season.  The schedule looks pretty rough.

Games vs 2017 playoff teams: 5 (Chiefs, Titans at neutral site, @Chiefs, @Bills, @Rams, @Steelers)
Games vs teams with playoff expectations: 5 (Ravens, 49ers, Raiders, @Raiders, @Seahawks)

Not all of these will be playoff teams, but I expect most will.  Out of these TEN games, maybe 7 turn out to actually be vs playoff teams.  7 is a LOT of games vs playoff teams.  We would be fortunate to go 4-3 in those games.  It might be reasonable to go 6-4 or 5-4 in the other games.  So I'd cap the win total at 10 if they catch a lot of breaks.  But if it turns out that we play 9 games vs playoff teams, or have a poor record vs playoff teams, you're quickly looking at an 8-8 season or worse.  

Unless...we find some truly dynamic playmaker in the draft that elevates our play.  For the 2018 Chargers, that would have to be in the form of either a stud WR (think Randy Moss circa 1998), a dynamic edge rusher (think Javon Kearse circa 1999), or a monstrous run-stuffing DT (think the Sam Adams / Tony Siragusa pairing on the 2000 Ravens).

Considering the Chargers draft position and the talent in the draft, the path to a magical season is if we select Da'Ron Payne and he pairs up with (probably imo) Liguet and they slam the door on the run.  

Of course the conventional wisdom is an upgrade at DT in round 1, so I'm not making a huge revelation in stating that.  But the pick has to be an all-pro to really make 2018 a successful season because the schedule looks very hard.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Riversco said:

2018 looks like a rough season.  The schedule looks pretty rough.

Games vs 2017 playoff teams: 5 (Chiefs, Titans at neutral site, @Chiefs, @Bills, @Rams, @Steelers)
Games vs teams with playoff expectations: 5 (Ravens, 49ers, Raiders, @Raiders, @Seahawks)

Opponents:

  • Home games (7): KC, DEN, OAK, BAL, CIN, ARI, SF
  • Neutral site game (1): TEN (London)
  • Away games (8): KC, DEN, OAK, PIT, CLE, BUF, LAR, SEA

Things to consider:

  • 2018 opponents had a combined 123-133 (0.480) record in 2017. In 2017, Chargers' opponents had a combined 117-139 (0.457) record, so this suggests a slight increase in schedule difficulty.
  • In 2018, the Chargers play 8 games against teams that had winning records in 2017. They played 7 games in 2017 against teams that ended with winning records, so again this suggests a slight increase in schedule difficulty.
  • They play 6 of those games against teams that had winning records in 2017 away from home, although one of those is in LA at the Rams.
  • In 2017, the Chargers played 4 games on the East coast that started at 1 pm EST. In 2018, it appears they could have 3 such games - @CLE, @PIT, @BUF. Without going back to look at prior seasons, that is about as low a number of such games as can be expected.

All in all, it doesn't look too bad. Obviously, if the Chargers are going to make the playoffs, win the division, or achieve anything else significant, they will have to beat some good teams. But that is always a given.

The best case scenario is probably winning 11 games, which presumably means winning 6-7 of the home games listed above. I wouldn't bet my house on it, but I think they can win the division in 2018. Some reasons for that optimism:

  • The team now has a year under Lynn and his staff and system, so they should be more comfortable out of the gate. And Lynn should be better at in game decision-making.
  • The PK situation will be better, which should mean it doesn't cost the team multiple wins in 2018.
  • The OL should be better, if only through the return of Lamp, though there should be other positive changes as well.
  • The run defense should be better, since it should be a focus area in the offseason.
  • Mike Williams should be significantly better in 2018, and, given his particular skill set, could help the team perform much better in the red zone.
  • This year's division winner, KC, may be breaking in a new QB who has played in 1 career game.

:football:

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Let's talk salary cap. Per spotrac, the Chargers currently have about $32.8M in available cap space for 2018. Over the Cap shows about $24.1M. There is more detail on the spotrac page, so I'm going with their numbers.

That $32.8M already accounts for currently known dead money in 2018. Assuming the team uses its current draft picks and all drafted players make the final roster, about $2.5-3M in net cap space goes to that group (accounting for crediting the cap space for the players the rookies will bump off the roster). I will be conservative and assume $3M.

The team will reserve some amount of that for injured reserve and practice squad players. I'm not sure how much to assume there... I will assume $10M.

Here are players I noted above I would like to see released, along with the effects of that on the cap:

  1. Releasing CB Verrett will add $8.5M in available 2018 cap space. This is a big number that will make a big impact on what the team can do in free agency. We can only hope that he passes his physical so the team can get out of his contract and let him walk.
  2. Releasing DT Mebane will add $4.5M in available 2018 cap space.
  3. Releasing RT Barksdale will add $3.7M in available 2018 cap space.
  4. Releasing CB Mager will add $705K in available 2018 cap space.

Here are RFAs I noted above I would to see re-signed, along with the effects of that on the cap:

  1. Offer WR Tyrell Williams a second round tender and re-sign him for 1 year for $3M. Currently, WR Andre Patton is counted within the Chargers' top 51 contracts at a 2018 cap hit of $480K. I assume this move will push him to the practice squad (at best), which is already accounted for above. So this is a net of about $2.5M against the 2018 cap. 
  2. Do not tender S Phillips, but re-sign him for $1.5M. Currently, S AJ Hendy is counted within the Chargers' top 51 contracts at a 2018 cap hit of $480K. I assume this move will push him to the practice squad (at best), which is already accounted for above. So this is a net of about $1M against the 2018 cap.
  3. Do not tender DL Palepoi, but re-sign him for $1.2M. Currently, CB Jeff Richards is counted within the Chargers' top 51 contracts at a 2018 cap hit of $480K. I assume this move will push him to the practice squad (at best), which is already accounted for above. So this is a net of about $700K against the 2018 cap.
  4. Do not tender TE McGrath, but re-sign him for $1.2M. Currently, Braedon Bowman is counted within the Chargers' top 51 contracts at a 2018 cap hit of $480K. I assume this move will push him to the practice squad (at best), which is already accounted for above. So this is a net of about $700K against the 2018 cap.
  5. Do not tender DE McCain, but re-sign him for $1M. Currently, DE Whitney Richardson is counted within the Chargers' top 51 contracts at a 2018 cap hit of $480K. I assume this move will push him to the practice squad (at best), which is already accounted for above. So this is a net of about $500K against the 2018 cap.
  6. For purposes of this exercise, I will assume Hairston still has one year remaining on his contract and thus is already covered.

I'm not sure how close I am to the mark on these RFA salary figures. I know it will depend on the tender, and I don't know a lot about that. It would be great if someone else could chime in on this.

I posted above that IMO the team should re-sign 2 of its UFAs - Slauson and Boston.

  1. I am guessing Boston will sign a 4 year deal for $35-40M, give or take. I assume his 2018 cap number would be about $8M. This is a big enough contract that the team should probably consider looking at other options... in fact, I am now thinking I would prefer Lamarcus Joyner, who will probably sign for 5 years for $50M or so, and probably wouldn't cost too much more on the 2018 cap. PFF graded Joyner as the #3 safety this year. All that said, this doesn't seem like Telesco's style, so I am guessing it will be Boston.
  2. I am guessing the team can re-sign Slauson to a 2 year deal for $5.5M, with a cap hit in 2018 of about $2M.

I also suspect the team is going to re-sign Gates for about $3.5M in 2018. I'm not sure I think that is great value, but I do not want to see Gates finish his career in another uniform.

Accounting for everything above (current cap space, reserving space for injured reserve and draft picks, releasing players under contract, and re-signing the team's own free agents) would leave the team with $18.3M in available cap space. Every free agent signed will also drop a player off the bottom of the roster and thus credit back the cap space he is holding at this time.

I stated above that I would like to see the team sign veteran free agents at the following positions: RT, C, DT, DE. They also need a PK, assuming they aren't willing to go into next season with Nick Rose or Roberto Aguayo at PK. (Those are the 2 PKs currently counted within the Chargers' top 51 contracts.)

That is a lot to get done with $18.3M. So what other options might they consider?

The team could release Liuget to free up another $6.5M, but that would surprise me. However, perhaps the team could re-negotiate to lower his 2018 cap number...? They could also convert some of Rivers' salary to bonus. I expect they could save $2M on the 2018 cap with Rivers, and at least that for Liuget.

I will assume they recover $2M via restructuring (and keep Liuget), bumping up the available cap space to $20.3M.

If they sign the 5 free agents identified above (RT, C, DT, DE, PK), that implies they recover $555K each for PKs Rose and Aguayo and $480K each for 3 other end of roster players... so about $2.5M. So they would really have about $22.8M to spend on 5 veteran free agents. Seems doable.

Also, all of this convinces me that the team should probably wait to deal with Hayward next offseason. If they extend him now, his 2018 cap number of $5.1M would go up by several million, probably to at least $12M. I'd rather see them get the 2018 value his play delivers on his current contract and then decide if he warrants a franchise tag, long term contract, or just let him walk.

I'm no cap expert, so I'm sure some of this is off base. Thoughts?

Edited by Just Win Baby

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7 hours ago, Just Win Baby said:

I am guessing Boston will sign a 4 year deal for $35-40M, give or take. I assume his 2018 cap number would be about $8M. This is a big enough contract that the team should probably consider looking at other options... in fact, I am now thinking I would prefer Lamarcus Joyner, who will probably sign for 5 years for $50M or so, and probably wouldn't cost too much more on the 2018 cap. PFF graded Joyner as the #3 safety this year. All that said, this doesn't seem like Telesco's style, so I am guessing it will be Boston.

On this. Just thought I would point out again how badly Telesco handled the Weddle situation. Regardless of how much Weddle contributed to the situation, Telesco treated him poorly. More importantly Weddle has been a much stronger performer than the Chargers' free safeties in the 2 seasons since he left, and he is halfway through a 4 year, $26M contract. That looks like a solid bargain at this point, given the market for free agent safeties these days.

As I felt all along, the team should have re-signed him. I'm still annoyed with Telesco over it.

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Chargers draft news:

1. The Chargers did not receive any draft compensation for the Inman trade last season:

Quote

Protected pick: The Bears retained the conditional 2018 seventh-round draft pick they offered the Chargers in the midseason trade for receiver Dontrelle Inman.

For the Chargers to have gotten the pick, Inman needed 25 receptions for the Bears, according to a person with knowledge of the trade. He finished with 23 in eight games...

So had Inman had 2 more catches with the Bears, the Chargers would have had the Bears' 7th round pick, which is the 6th pick in the 7th round, #224 overall. According to PFF, he had 5 drops, so those were the difference. Not a huge loss, but disappointing to have gotten nothing out of that trade.

2. The Chargers were awarded a compensatory 7th round pick in the 2018 draft.

3. So the Chargers now have these picks:

  1. 1st round: #17 overall
  2. 2nd round: 16th pick in the round, #48 overall
  3. 3rd round: 20th pick in the round, #84 overall
  4. 4th round: 19th pick in the round, #119 overall
  5. 5th round: 18th pick in the round, #155 overall
  6. 6th round: 17th pick in the round, #191 overall
  7. 7th round: 33rd pick in the round, #251 overall

 

Edited by Just Win Baby

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Quote

I also suspect the team is going to re-sign Gates for about $3.5M in 2018. I'm not sure I think that is great value, but I do not want to see Gates finish his career in another uniform.

God I hope not. He is done, and if LT can play for another team, go ahead and let Gates. its meaningless really

 

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2 hours ago, bicycle_seat_sniffer said:

God I hope not. He is done, and if LT can play for another team, go ahead and let Gates. its meaningless really

I would prefer that Gates retire, but he actually played surprisingly well last season. And, personally, I would rather that the Chargers had worked something out with Tomlinson to stay; they replaced him with Ryan Mathews, who was ultimately a disappointment. :shrug:

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What will be around for them at interior D line or O line in the draft? I know I've been asking this every year for a while now, I keep hoping this year is the year they actually address these things with some guys with potential instead of depending on vet retreads.

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27 minutes ago, Gr00vus said:

What will be around for them at interior D line or O line in the draft? I know I've been asking this every year for a while now, I keep hoping this year is the year they actually address these things with some guys with potential instead of depending on vet retreads.

Didn't they draft two OG last year? and one got hurt. if that Vita Vea D lineman is available I would think they should take him in round1, dream scenario though is Roquan Smith, bolts could use and upgrade in the middle of that LB core as well.

 

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21 minutes ago, Gr00vus said:

What will be around for them at interior D line or O line in the draft? I know I've been asking this every year for a while now, I keep hoping this year is the year they actually address these things with some guys with potential instead of depending on vet retreads.

IMO their significant needs are DT, C, RT,  FS, and PK. I also think they would benefit a lot from a playmaker at Sam LB instead of Emanuel, though he is serviceable, and they need a quality backup RB.

Backup RB and PK can be addressed late in the draft. LB is more of a luxury. Even so, that leaves too many needs to solve in the draft alone. What to target in the draft depends on which of these positions Telesco addresses in free agency. 

I would like to see the Chargers sign one premier FA to address one of DT, C, RT, or FS. If they do, they should be able to address the other 3 positions in the first 3 rounds. 

If they don’t sign a premier FA DT, it seems very possible that one of the top two DTs (Vea, Payne) could be available at 1.17, and it also seems that they might be able to draft a quality C in the second. 

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4 minutes ago, bicycle_seat_sniffer said:

Didn't they draft two OG last year? and one got hurt. if that Vita Vea D lineman is available I would think they should take him in round1, dream scenario though is Roquan Smith, bolts could use and upgrade in the middle of that LB core as well.

Agree on Vea. Also agree on Smith but it seems very unlikely he would make it to 1.17, and I certainly don’t think the Chargers should trade up. 

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I like both your takes. So they'll take another WR in the 1st round.

Also, another possibility is they trade down if they can get value.

Edited by Gr00vus

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15 minutes ago, Just Win Baby said:

Agree on Vea. Also agree on Smith but it seems very unlikely he would make it to 1.17, and I certainly don’t think the Chargers should trade up. 

Smith could be considered undersized....wishful thinking

 

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http://www.kentucky.com/sports/college/acc/university-of-louisville/article203362034.html

Chargers officials impressed with Lamar Jackson. ‘I think he’s a nightmare’ for defenses.

...The Los Angeles Chargers, who pick 17th in the first round, could be a landing spot for Jackson, though he said he hadn’t yet spoken to the team at the combine.

Chargers Coach Anthony Lynn had success with Tyrod Taylor, another mobile quarterback, in Buffalo, and he seemed impressed when asked about Jackson.

“Our scouts, they’ve watched the whole year. They like him. The couple games I saw, I think he’s a nightmare (for defenses),” Lynn said. “I think he’s a good quarterback.”

Chargers GM Tom Telesco, who said the team is evaluating quarterbacks this offseason like any other, said Jackson’s tape is some of the most enjoyable to watch.

“It is unique, and it’s really a fun evaluation because watching the tape and watching him play, you don’t see that very often, a guy that carries his team the way he does, and he does a number of things really well,” Telesco said. “But those are the fun ones to watch.”

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On 2/26/2018 at 3:29 PM, Gr00vus said:

So they'll take another WR in the 1st round.

I'll find it incredibly difficult to continue rooting for this team if that happens. Fortunately, I think the possibility is quite remote. (I know you were joking, but sometimes it feels like other people's jokes end up being the Chargers' reality.)

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On 2/26/2018 at 2:50 PM, Gr00vus said:

What will be around for them at interior D line or O line in the draft?

Here are the guys I've seen projected for the Chargers at those spots with the first pick:

DT Vita Vae - Washington
DT Maurice Hurst - Michigan
DT Da'Ron Payne - Alabama
OT Orlando Brown - Oklahoma
OT Mike McGlinchey - Notre Dame

Other players mentioned frequently:
LB Rashaan Evans - Alabama
LB Roquan Smith - Georgia
LB Tremaine Edmunds - Virginia Tech
S Derwin James - Florida State

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On 3/10/2018 at 10:03 AM, Despyzer said:

Here are the guys I've seen projected for the Chargers at those spots with the first pick:

DT Vita Vae - Washington
DT Maurice Hurst - Michigan
DT Da'Ron Payne - Alabama
OT Orlando Brown - Oklahoma
OT Mike McGlinchey - Notre Dame

Other players mentioned frequently:
LB Rashaan Evans - Alabama
LB Roquan Smith - Georgia
LB Tremaine Edmunds - Virginia Tech
S Derwin James - Florida State

It seems likely that these players will be gone before 1.17:

  • QB - Allen, Darnold, Rosen, Mayfield
  • RB - Barkley
  • G - Nelson
  • DE - Chubb
  • LB - Smith, Edmunds
  • CB - Jackson
  • S - Fitzpatrick, James

That is 12 players, with Vea and Payne still on the board. I am hoping for one of them. I think Hurst is clearly a tier lower, and I would rather target another position if he is the best DT remaining at that point.

Orlando Brown completely bombed the combine and should be out of consideration IMO. I also think DT is a much greater need than RT, which can be manned by Barksdale for one more year if absolutely necessary. However, if Vea and Payne are both gone and McGlinchey is available, I'd be okay with taking him.

All that said, what the Chargers should do will be dependent on what they do in free agency. It would be ideal for Telesco to solve one of their significant needs via free agency, which would then take whatever that position is off the draft board in the first round.

Edited by Just Win Baby

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:tumbleweed:

Were we really expecting anything different though? Doesn't seem like the people that have been signed so far were necessarily guys playing positions of key concern for the Chargers this offseason, except maybe Solder, and there was no way they were going to pay that kind of money anyways.

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ladies and gentleman - Virgil Green  :FartNoise:

I mean seriously the bolts and the lions both needed LBs badly, at least Detroit made some moves on younger players with upside to fill out their depth....the chargers...nothing....and why not kick the tires on SItton? or even dare I say SUH???? not sure if the bolts have the cap room though

 

 

Edited by bicycle_seat_sniffer

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On 1/15/2018 at 3:50 PM, Just Win Baby said:

As mentioned, the team should drop Verrett's 5th year option and let him walk if he can pass his physical. No way he is worth $8.5M to the Chargers if Hayward, Williams, and King are healthy. It was not smart to pick up his option in the first place.

I heard on the radio yesterday that teams had to release 5th year option players by 4 pm EST yesterday, or their salaries became guaranteed. I have seen no news on Verrett, so I assume he is now locked in for 2018 at $8.5M guaranteed. Stupid move IMO.

On 1/15/2018 at 3:49 PM, Just Win Baby said:

Here is how I would like to see the offensive roster shape up:

  • QB (2) - Rivers, Jones
  • RB (3) - Gordon, Ekeler, TBD rookie
  • FB (1) - Watt
  • WR (5) - Allen, Benjamin, Tyrell Williams, Mike Williams, Geremy Davis or TBD rookie
  • TE (3) - Henry, McGrath, Culkin
  • OL (9) - LT Okung, LG Feeney, C TBD veteran free agent, RG Lamp, RT TBD veteran free agent, C/G Pulley, C/G Slauson, T Hairston, T Tevi

Normally I like to allocate 24 roster spots to offense. This is only 23, leaving room for another RB, TE, or possibly OL, though I think carrying 10 OL is extreme. I suppose it will be Gates or a 4th RB.

Well, the Chargers signed Virgil Green to a 3 year deal. It seems likely he is a replacement for Cumberland, and McGrath will still be back. If the team goes with 3 TEs, that means they chose Green over Culkin. Seems like another questionable move IMO.

Here are Green's 2017 PFF ranks (out of 113 graded TEs): 532 snaps - #106 overall, #110 receiving, #95T run blocking, #5 pass blocking. PFF grades are certainly not perfect, but, other than pass blocking, those grades are terrible.

On 1/15/2018 at 3:49 PM, Just Win Baby said:

Hairston was placed on IR due to blood clots. If he is healthy enough to return, IMO the team should keep (or re-sign him if he is a UFA) and let Schofield walk. If he isn't, I suppose Schofield could be re-signed, but he isn't very good.

Haven't heard anything about Hairston, but the team signed Schofield to a 2 year deal. This is fine, provided they signed him to be a depth player and not the starting RT.

On 1/15/2018 at 3:50 PM, Just Win Baby said:

Phillips didn't play great, but his role was mostly to play in place of a linebacker in passing situations, often as the 6th DB on the field. That put him out of position against the run, but he was there more to play coverage, and he did that pretty well. Like Boston, I think it makes sense to re-sign him if the price is reasonable, and I expect Phillips will be cheaper than Boston.

I no longer think the team should re-sign Boston, but the team signed Phillips to a 1 year deal, as expected, and I think that was fine, as long as they aren't planning to start him at FS.

On 1/27/2018 at 3:04 PM, Just Win Baby said:

Offer WR Tyrell Williams a second round tender and re-sign him for 1 year for $3M

As expected, the team placed a second round tender on Tyrell. I would actually rather have a second round pick, but I don't think any other team will pay that to get him. Given that, the team should re-sign him.

On 1/27/2018 at 3:04 PM, Just Win Baby said:

Do not tender DE McCain, but re-sign him for $1M

The team placed a right of first refusal tender on McCain. The fact they did this rather than a second round tender suggests they see his value below the ~$2.9M price tag of a second round tender. I agree with that, but I think there is a good chance he will draw an offer from another team. In that case, if the Chargers don't match, he is gone. I would like him back, but only if the price is reasonable. I think many fans overrated how well he played last season, though it is definitely true that he showed some potential.

On 1/27/2018 at 3:04 PM, Just Win Baby said:

all of this convinces me that the team should probably wait to deal with Hayward next offseason. If they extend him now, his 2018 cap number of $5.1M would go up by several million, probably to at least $12M. I'd rather see them get the 2018 value his play delivers on his current contract and then decide if he warrants a franchise tag, long term contract, or just let him walk.

Even though I would have waited on Hayward, I think he is a great player, so extending him is still a good thing. I was just hoping to hold his cap number down for 2018 in order to make room for another strong free agent, but it appears that isn't happening. I haven't seen details of his contract extension yet, so hopefully his cap number for this season didn't go up too much. Regardless, glad he will be a Charger for at least 4 more seasons.

This move makes me think even less of picking up Verrett's 5th year option.

On 2/26/2018 at 0:23 PM, Just Win Baby said:

I would like to see the Chargers sign one premier FA to address one of DT, C, RT, or FS

I guess this was wishful thinking. Altogether, this start to free agency seems pretty underwhelming. Telesco is going to need to have a great draft if the Chargers are going to contend within Rivers' remaining window.

Did I miss anything so far?

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22 hours ago, Just Win Baby said:
On 1/15/2018 at 3:50 PM, Just Win Baby said:

As mentioned, the team should drop Verrett's 5th year option and let him walk if he can pass his physical. No way he is worth $8.5M to the Chargers if Hayward, Williams, and King are healthy. It was not smart to pick up his option in the first place.

I heard on the radio yesterday that teams had to release 5th year option players by 4 pm EST yesterday, or their salaries became guaranteed. I have seen no news on Verrett, so I assume he is now locked in for 2018 at $8.5M guaranteed. Stupid move IMO.

Thinking more about this, maybe I missed something that could make this move more reasonable.

If the team lets Boston sign elsewhere, they could move King from nickel corner to starting FS. He was widely expected to transition to safety in the NFL due to his strengths (tackling, reading QB, etc.) combined with his subpar speed (for a corner). In that case, Hayward would remain outside and Verrett and Williams would split the slot and other outside spot. This would also remove FS from being a serious need in either free agency or the draft.

If the team takes this approach, I think holding onto Verrett makes a lot more sense, assuming he is healthy.

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2 hours ago, bicycle_seat_sniffer said:

M Pouncey coming in for a visit.....not bad kick the tires.....

Not sure what to think about this. Pouncey was below average last season, at least per PFF. Here are his grades and PFF ranks among 46 graded centers last year:

  • Overall – grade 46.5 = #30
  • Pass Blocking – grade 71.8 = #13
  • Run Blocking – grade 43.5 = tied for #37

He was injured in 2016 and coming back from that last season, but his overall grades the past 4 seasons are unimpressive overall:

  • 2017 – 46.5
  • 2016 – 62.7
  • 2015 – 77.8
  • 2014 – 46.2

All that said, he is clearly better than Pulley, who was arguably the worst center in the NFL last season. And he is much better at pass blocking, which is key. I just don’t know if he is worth $7M to $9M per year, as is being speculated he will command.

Would the OL definitely be significantly better as LT Okung, LG Feeney, C Pouncey, RG Lamp, RT TBD rather than LT Okung, LG Slauson, C Feeney, RG Lamp, RT TBD? I think it would be better, but enough better to warrant spending $7M to $9M on Pouncey rather than $2M on Slauson?

I hope so.

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6 minutes ago, Just Win Baby said:

Not sure what to think about this. Pouncey was below average last season, at least per PFF. Here are his grades and PFF ranks among 46 graded centers last year:

All that said, he is clearly better than Pulley, who was arguably the worst center in the NFL last season. And he is much better at pass blocking, which is key. I just don’t know if he is worth $7M to $9M per year, as is being speculated he will command.

Would the OL definitely be significantly better as LT Okung, LG Feeney, C Pouncey, RG Lamp, RT TBD rather than LT Okung, LG Slauson, C Feeney, RG Lamp, RT TBD? I think it would be better, but enough better to warrant spending $7M to $9M on Pouncey rather than $2M on Slauson?

I hope so.

The coaching staff got more out of the talent on the roster last season.  I say odds favor that if they like Pouncey and sign him, they will get more out of him than what he showed last year. You have to be excited about the future after what we saw last year.

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22 minutes ago, Riversco said:

We ended the year 6-1 with 4 blowouts.  Don't forget that.

No doubt. With a competent kicker entering the season, the Chargers would have made the playoffs. The team is a contender IMO and has about a 2-3 year window to push for a deep playoff run. After that, Rivers ages out, Bosa gets paid, the young DBs (Williams, King, Verrett) are gone or making bigger money, etc.

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#Dolphins FA C Mike Pouncey visits #Chargers today, so worth noting: Miami is trying to improve its culture, but cutting Pouncey wasn’t part of that: He got rave reviews for leadership & toughness. He was cut because MIA paid 2 players (Sitton/Kilgore) what it was paying Pouncey.

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On 3/18/2018 at 10:21 AM, bicycle_seat_sniffer said:

#Dolphins FA C Mike Pouncey visits #Chargers today, so worth noting: Miami is trying to improve its culture, but cutting Pouncey wasn’t part of that: He got rave reviews for leadership & toughness. He was cut because MIA paid 2 players (Sitton/Kilgore) what it was paying Pouncey.

The Chargers reportedly signed Pouncey for 2 years, $15M, $10M guaranteed.

It is well known that he has a hip problem that kept him out of 17 games over the past 5 years. I read that one doctor advised him to retire due to that issue, and the Dolphins allowed him to skip one practice per week last season to accommodate it. I have to believe the Chargers did enough due diligence on it to have good reason to expect him to be able to remain healthy and effective.

I hope he is able to return to his level of play in 2015. His 2017 play was better than Pulley (very low bar there), but still well below average.

Regardless, take center off the draft board.

Edited by Just Win Baby

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Resetting where things stand.

Players who have been discussed as candidates for release:

  1. IMO Mebane should and will be released
  2. I don’t think either Liuget or Benjamin should or will be released. I do think the team could ask Liuget to restructure and gain a bit of cap relief. Probably Rivers also.
  3. IMO Barksdale will only be released if the team adds a clear upgrade, whether via free agency or the draft.

Current needs:

  1. I see the team with a 2-3 year window to push to make a Super Bowl, after which Rivers ages out, Bosa gets paid, the young DBs (Williams, King, Verrett) have either moved on or gotten big raises, etc. So I do not think this is the year to draft a QB. So that position is not in my needs list. Maybe next year.
  2. I do not see WR as a need because I assume all of Allen, Mike W, Tyrell W, and Benjamin remain on the roster and are expected to be healthy.
  3. Signing Sturgis removes PK as a need.
  4. Signing Pouncey removes C as a need.
  5. IMO that leaves the needs as follows, in roughly this order of priority:
    1. DT (x2 if Liuget is cut)
    2. FS
    3. RT
    4. Sam LB
    5. Backup RB
    6. Mike LB

Here is a possible plan:

1. Given that the team retained Verrett and now has to work him into the corner rotation with top performers Hayward, Williams, and King… and given that Boston is a free agent who is likely to get a big raise, I think the team should move King to starting FS. His strengths (reading QB/field, tackling, ball skills) combined with his subpar speed (for a corner) make him a great fit at FS, which is where he was projected to play entering the NFL. That would remove FS from the list of urgent needs; they could still draft a FS, they just wouldn’t have to target that position early, barring an unexpected value falling.

2. Draft DT at 1.17 – ideally Vea, but Payne would be fine. At this time, it seems likely that all of these players will be drafted before 1.17:

  • QB – Allen, Darnold, Rosen, Mayfield
  • RB – Barkley
  • G – Nelson
  • DE – Chubb, Davenport
  • LB – Smith, Edmunds
  • CB – Jackson, Ward
  • S – Fitzpatrick, James

That is 14 players, with Vea and Payne still on the board and no OT or WR drafted. Seems like a good chance at least one of those DTs will make it to 1.17.

3. Draft BPA but with some preference to RT or LB (either Sam or Mike) in the 2nd round. If a LB the caliber of Rashaan Evans is available, he is the pick IMO.

4. Draft BPA the rest of the way, but look hard at RT in the 3rd if not drafted in the 2nd. Not certain how likely the team is to draft a starting RT in the 3rd or later, so Barksdale might stick to compete with Schofield, Tevi, and whatever rookie draft picks and UDFAs are added. If a strong RT candidate is not available, I would go defense here, looking at the DT and LB positions again.

5. Make sure to draft a RB in the 4th or 5th rounds. There should be a good amount of RB talent available there.

This is all doable. If Telesco and Lynn don't agree with moving King to FS, it makes this situation a lot harder, since that position has to become the #2 priority.

:popcorn: 

Edited by Just Win Baby
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Salary cap update.

First off, I prefer spotrac to overthecap. So this post uses spotrac data, other than for Hayward. Hayward’s new contract data is not yet updated there, so I pulled it from overthecap.

  1. We don’t yet have contract data for Pouncey or Phillips. More on that in a minute.
  2. Assuming that all 7 draft picks will make the final roster, the current top 42 contracts (42 to allow for the Pouncey and Phillips contracts) plus the cap slots for those 7 draft picks totals to $163,603,146.
  3. The Chargers adjusted cap for 2018 is $179,822,050. So that leaves a gap of $16,218,904. I'll round this to $16.2M for convenience.
  4. The Chargers currently have about $4.7M in dead cap money in 2018, so we are down to $11.5M.
  5. Let’s say Pouncey’s 2018 cap hit is $7.5M and Phillips’ is $3M. That leaves just $1M remaining after accounting for the current top 44 contracts and all 7 draft picks.
  6. Mebane should be released. That frees up $4.5M, although it also pulls a low contract of about $555K into the top 44. So the savings is roughly $4M, pushing available cap space to about $5M.
  7. That top 44 includes Hairston. GIven that the team resigned Schofield and still has Tevi and Barksdale on the roster, I assume Hairston will be released. That frees up about $1.5M, but it also pulls a low contract of about $555K into the top 44. So the savings is roughly $1M, pushing available cap space to $6M.

That is $6M available after accounting for the top 44 contracts, and the cost of the 7 draft picks. I know Telesco will need to reserve some space for injured reserve and the practice squad. So this suggests they are about done in free agency barring further roster moves.

That is with Cardale Jones as the only backup QB and without signing Gates or Toomer or any other free agents. It is also without restructuring any other contracts (e.g., Liuget, Rivers?), which could free up more space, and without releasing players like Liuget, Benjamin, and/or Barksdale. Should any of those players be released, substantial additional cap space would be freed up. (IMO Benjamin should stay, and Barksdale should only be released if/when the team is confident it has upgraded the RT position via the draft, free agency, or others on the roster.)

Liuget's suspension makes him a much stronger candidate for release IMO. That would free up about $6.5M or $8M (if designated a post June 1 release) that the team could use to sign a veteran DT. I doubt they can afford Suh, but maybe Hankins.

That would yield a core roster that looks something like this:

  • Offense (22)
    • QB - Rivers, Jones
    • RB - Gordon, Ekeler, Farrow
    • FB - Watt
    • WR - Allen, Tyrell Williams, Mike Williams, Benjamin, Davis
    • TE - Henry, Green, Culkin
    • OL - LT Okung, LG Feeney, C Pouncey, RG Lamp, RT Barksdale, C/G Pulley, T Schofield, T Tevi
  • Defense (19)
    • Edge - Bosa, Ingram, McCain
    • Interior - Liuget/TBD veteran, Philon, Square
    • LB - Sam LB Emanuel, Mike LB Perryman, Will LB Brown, Pullard, Dzubnar
    • CB - Hayward, Williams, Verrett, Davis
    • S - SS Addae, FS King, Phillips, Jenkins
  • Special Teams (3)
    • PK - Sturgis
    • P - Kaser
    • LS - Windt

Looking at my previous post on draft strategy:

  1. Vea or Payne would slot into the interior DL as a starter instead of Philon, which should make him more effective in a rotational role.
  2. An early round LB could push Pullard off the roster and Emanuel or Perryman to the bench. At least we could hope for that, despite Bradley's stubborn usage of Pullard last year despite his poor play. Pushing Pullard off the roster would also open up a roster spot for another position, like another edge defender.
  3. An early round RT would presumably push Barksdale off the roster and free up an additional $3.2M or so. That would also open up another roster spot for a 9th OL.
  4. A mid to late round RB could join the group shown or possibly push Farrow off the roster. Pushing Farrow off the roster would also open up a roster spot for another position... Gates?
  5. I figure 1-2 DT, 1-2 LB, 1 RT, 1 RB, and at least 1 DB will be drafted. Maybe also an interior OL, unless the team expects Clark to make the final roster.

Thoughts? How should the Chargers spend their remaining cap?

ETA: Updated post-Liuget suspension, and also to account for current 2018 dead money.

Edited by Just Win Baby

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Great, DT Liuget has been suspended the first 4 games for violating the drug policy. I was advocating for the team to keep him, not sure what to think now.

If they cut him prior to June 1, they could save $6.5M against the 2018 cap. If they designate him as a post June 1 cut, they could save $8M against the 2018 cap by shifting $1.5M of the dead money to the 2019 cap. Given what I posted above, that suggests they would have up to $18.7M to spend without any other cuts (besides Mebane and Hairston) or restructures. I suppose they could do that and go after Suh. That doesn't really seem like Telesco's style, though.

Or perhaps the team could push Liuget to restructure to open up more cap space.

Thoughts?

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15 hours ago, Just Win Baby said:

Great, DT Liuget has been suspended the first 4 games for violating the drug policy. I was advocating for the team to keep him, not sure what to think now.

If they cut him prior to June 1, they could save $6.5M against the 2018 cap. If they designate him as a post June 1 cut, they could save $8M against the 2018 cap by shifting $1.5M of the dead money to the 2019 cap. Given what I posted above, that suggests they would have up to $18.7M to spend without any other cuts (besides Mebane and Hairston) or restructures. I suppose they could do that and go after Suh. That doesn't really seem like Telesco's style, though.

Or perhaps the team could push Liuget to restructure to open up more cap space.

Thoughts?

Liuget is average...the roids didn't help. cut him and kick the tires on Hankins? hes still unsigned. Keep Mebane then.

Draft a NT/Dline in first round

 

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2 hours ago, bicycle_seat_sniffer said:

Liuget is average...the roids didn't help. cut him and kick the tires on Hankins? hes still unsigned. Keep Mebane then.

Draft a NT/Dline in first round

Can't keep Mebane. He was one of the absolute worst interior DL in the league last season, and his cap hit is $5.5M. But in my view, the plan to replace him was always via the 1.17 pick.

What is Hankins' likely contract going to cost? If the Chargers could sign him within the cap savings provided by Liuget, I support that move. It sure seems from Telesco's press release that he plans to stick with Liuget, though.

Edited by Just Win Baby

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I imagine Hankins contract would be in the realm of what Sly Williams signed with Detroit for? maybe less? don't seem like people are knocking his door down

 

Quote

Updating a previous report, Detroit Lions DT Sylvester Williams signed a one-year deal with the Lions worth $3.5 million, according to a source. Williams can make an additional $1.5 million with incentives.

 

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I gathered elsewhere that Verrett's salary is not yet guaranteed, so he may not actually make it to the final roster. In that case, I prefer releasing Verrett, keeping King at nickel/slot corner, and finding another solution at FS. But it complicates matters if they have to hold onto Verrett until after the draft, since they can't clear his salary off the cap to sign a veteran, which seemingly keeps that position in play for a high round draft pick.

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