Five Biggest Free Agency Moves: Los Angeles Chargers
With free agency now into its sixth week as April’s Draft draws closer, it’s time to start reviewing which teams filled some needs and who got weaker. Here are the five biggest free agency moves for each team so far.
Blow fourth quarter leads and injuries doomed the Chargers to a 5–11 season last year, and Mike McCoy was fired. The Chargers now head to Los Angeles under new head coach Anthony Lynn and are hoping for a competitive, healthy season from a talented roster. But battling in the league’s best division might result in a rude LA awakening. Here are the Chargers’ five biggest free agency moves:
1 — Franchising Melvin Ingram
The Chargers have a promising young defense under incoming defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, and Melvin Ingram is a big part of that. Ingram had eight sacks last season and forms a potent pass rushing partnership with sophomore Joey Bosa (10.5 sacks) whilst leading the team with four forced fumbles. With a thin pool of edge rushers on offer this season, the Chargers couldn’t let Ingram test the market, so they applied the franchise tag. Ingram will earn $14 million under the tag until the two sides work out a long-term deal.
2 — Signing Russell Okung
Part of the reason that quarterback Philip Rivers struggled down the stretch was bad protection from the offensive line. The Chargers released 2013 first round pick D.J. Fluker and signed former Broncos offensive tackle Russell Okung. Acting as his own agent, Okung signed a four year, $53 million deal with the Chargers. Okung isn’t worth a big contract like that, but cashed in on a competitive market. Rivers and the Chargers will hope that Okung can be an upgrade over Fluker.
3 — Replacing Danny Woodhead
After four years with the Chargers, running back Danny Woodhead was allowed to leave for Baltimore in free agency. The injury-prone third down scat-back will likely be replaced by a combination of fan-favourite Branden Oliver and new addition Kenjon Barner. Oliver re-signed on a on year deal after hardly seeing the field since 2015 due to injuries. Former Eagle Barner also joins on a one year deal after rushing 27 times for 129 yards and two touchdowns along with five catches for 42 yards in a situational role in Philadelphia. Barner can also contribute on special teams.
4 — Re-signing Jahleel Addae
The Chargers re-signed strong safety Jahleel Addae to a four year, $22.5 million deal. Addae missed half of 2016 due to injury but is the starting strong safety. Addae had four pass breakups and a pick six last season before breaking his collarbone.
5 — Re-signing Tenny Palepoi
The Chargers re-signed situational defensive lineman Tenny Palepoi to a one year deal. Palepoi was suspended in December and will miss the Chargers’ opening game as he finishes his ban after violating the league’s performance-enhancing substance policy. Gus Bradley built the original Legion of Boom out of unheralded players, so let’s see what he can do with Palepoi.