The Chargers are hard at work, identifying their strengths and weaknesses from this season as they head into the offseason in a little over a month.
With that being said, here are six positional groups that Los Angeles needs to address to revamp their roster.
1. Wide receiver
Mike Williams was a major boost to the offense when he was on the field, as was Keenan Allen. But when they weren’t due to their respective injuries, their absences were felt significantly. Now, there is a possibility that Allen could be a cap casualty, whether that be releasing or restructuring him. Joshua Palmer made strides from his rookie to sophomore season, but it remains to be seen if it was enough to warrant a more prominent role in Year 3. The bottom line is that the Chargers need speed at receiver, and they must address it to create more explosive plays in the passing game, something they lacked this season, especially after the loss of Jalen Guyton due to his season-ending injury.
2. Edge defender
Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack’s time on the field in their first year together was short-lived after Bosa sustained a groin injury that kept him out for most of the season. While Bosa was out, the pass-rush production from the position group took a dip. Looking ahead, Mack will be 32 when the 2023 season starts. Kyle Van Noy will be a free agent. Chris Rumph has not made much of an impact in his first two seasons to suggest he is ready to be counted on in an expanded role. In a pass-happy league, you need players to disrupt quarterbacks consistently. And that’s why the Chargers would benefit from another premier pass rusher, especially as they start preparing for life after Mack.
3. Tight end
Gerald Everett supplied the offense with a consistent piece in the passing game, finishing with career-highs in receptions (55) and receiving yards (555). But the other guys in the tight end room were astray. Donald Parham appeared in six games after dealing with a hamstring injury he sustained in training camp and a concussion. Tre’ McKitty was drafted in 2021 as an in-line blocker, but he was underwhelming in that department and did not offer much value as a receiver. With Parham’s injury concerns looming and the stagnant status of McKitty, the Chargers would benefit from a complete player at the position to complement Everett in 2023 and take over as the No. 1 when Everett hits the free agency market after the upcoming season.
Drue Tranquill was one of the Chargers’ best defenders this season, leading the team in tackles and making an impact not just against the run but as a pass rusher and in coverage. Tranquill is a free agent, and even though he proved that he should be a priority re-signing, it would not surprise if the team let him go, considering they let Kyzir White walk in free agency last year despite him coming off an excellent season in 2021. Kenneth Murray still has not lived up to his first-round billing. Troy Reeder is a free agent. Nick Niemann and Amen Ogbongmeniga have served as special teamers on coverage units. While it’s not a premium position in Brandon Staley’s defense, Los Angeles could use a player that is prolific at stopping the run.
Nasir Adderley struggled down the final stretch of the season, resulting in Alohi Gilman receiving more playing time than Adderley. In the playoff game against the Jaguars, Gilman got the start over Adderley. The Chargers not playing Adderley in the most crucial game of the season could indicate that his time in the blue and gold is nearing an end since he will be a free agent in March. 2022 third-round pick JT Woods was taken with the idea of playing him as the deep safety to allow Derwin James to move all over the field. But that never came to fruition as Woods struggled as a tackler in the limited snaps he played and was a non-factor defensively. The team may elect to start Gilman in 2023, and they are high on first-year Raheem Layne, but they would benefit from another play-making safety.
6. Offensive line depth
For once in a very long time, the Chargers won’t be in the market for starters along the offensive line, assuming that they re-sign Trey Pipkins to remain as the starting right tackle. Furthermore, Matt Feiler could be on the chopping block, but it’s presumed that Jamaree Salyer is a candidate to be the starting left guard in 2023. Nonetheless, Los Angeles still needs depth. At center, Corey Linsley’s backup from this season, Will Clapp, will be a free agent. Brenden Jaimes is the only backup guard. Bringing in competition for the swing tackle spot with Storm Norton and Foster Sarell would be beneficial, as the two have struggled when they’ve appeared in games.