Under new head coach Jim Harbaugh, 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.
That said, here are six positional groups that Los Angeles needs to address to revamp their roster.
Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley are set to hit the free agency market, leaving Isaiah Spiller as the primary back on the roster. After having lackluster rushing offenses the past few seasons, the Chargers will make it a priority to improve in that department.
Interior defensive line
Brandon Staley made the point to bolster the interior part of the defensive line with the signings of Sebastian Joseph-Day and Austin Johnson two offseasons ago. Joseph-Day was released after Staley was fired and Johnson will be a free agent. That leaves Morgan Fox, Otito Ogbonnia and Scott Matlock. The Chargers need more juice up front with players who can rush the passer and defend the run.
The Chargers needed to upgrade the tight end room last offseason and after failing to do so, they saw how crucial it was they neglected it. While they got some contributions from Gerald Everett in the passing game, Los Angeles didn’t have an impactful blocker, which was detrimental in the running game. Everett is set to be a free agent, leaving Donald Parham and Stone Smartt as the tight ends on the roster. They need a bonafide No. 1.
The Chargers finished with the third-worst pass defense during the regular season. Some of the issues were attributed to Staley’s scheme and the others were the players. Michael Davis’ play was up and down. Davis will be a free agent. Asante Samuel Jr. made plays in coverage but struggled as a run defender. As for the safeties, Derwin James was far from the player we’re used to seeing, often getting beat in coverage. Alohi Gilman was consistent, but he will be a free agent. JT Woods, the former third-round pick, has not contributed at all.
The anchor of the Chargers’ offensive line of the past two seasons, Corey Linsley, is likely going to retire due to a heart issue that kept him sidelined for most of 2023. Will Clapp, who started in place of him, is a free agent. Brenden Jaimes got three starts to close out the season when Clapp got hurt and he played well, but they need a true starting center with experience.
Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are still on the roster, but given they are slated for cap hits of over $30 million and the Chargers are going to be strapped for cash, they could be dealt to clear up some space. Even if Allen is brought back, he is not getting any younger. Joshua Palmer has shown that he can be a reliable receiver. The jury is still out on Quentin Johnston, who struggled in his rookie season. The bottom line is that Los Angeles still lacks speed and dynamic playmakers at the position.