Head coach Brandon Staley responded to a question about the new three-quarterback rule at his press conference on Wednesday:
It’s going to be interesting to see what teams in the league do with that third spot. We’ve discussed it. We’ve kept three quarterbacks in the past, but every year is a new year. I think in the next five to seven days, that’s when a lot of these decisions are going to be made. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out.
The Chargers have kept three quarterbacks on the final roster in eight of Tom Telesco’s ten seasons as general manager. In the 2023 NFL draft, the team took former TCU quarterback Max Duggan with their seventh-round pick. Duggan played in the second half of the first preseason game against the Rams. He did not get to play against the Saints, as Staley and Moore rolled with Easton Stick for the entirety of the game.
The NFL’s new emergency quarterback rule can be slightly complicated on the surface. Duggan would count against the final 53-man roster for the Chargers if they kept three quarterbacks. However, he would not count against the active 48-man roster on NFL game days. Essentially, Duggan would keep someone else off the final roster, but the Chargers to use an “extra” player on gamedays.
Despite Staley not committing to keeping two or three quarterbacks, it’s hard to believe the Chargers would cut Duggan given the new rule. The organization has always liked keeping a scout team quarterback under Telesco. They also used the seventh-round selection to keep the TCU star from hitting undrafted free agency.
The new rule only gives more credence to Telesco’s scout quarterback philosophy of keeping three on the roster. That philosophy held true when the Chargers drafted Stick in 2019 with Philip Rivers and Tyrod Taylor already rostered. Eventually, the time will probably come to promote Duggan to QB2 as they did with Stick’s development over the past four years.