My favorite fight song in sports has always been "San Diego Super Chargers." I don't think it's any coincidence that Dan Fouts threw for career-highs in passing yardage three seasons in a row after the song's release in 1979. It's a certified banger, trust me. The serotonin rush I get from listening to it is close to the rush I experienced when BetMGM released their Super Bowl LVII odds and I saw the Chargers listed at +2500. I'm jumping on that value before the free agency period starts, because this is likely the longest odds we'll see on the Chargers for years to come.
The rookie contract window
Quarterback is the most important position in football, so having a great one on a rookie contract is a massive advantage. The last five Super Bowls have all featured a team who were led to the playoffs by a quarterback playing on his rookie contract. Spending only 2-4% of their salary cap on QB allowed the Chiefs to build a dynamic team around Patrick Mahomes while organizations like the Vikings and Packers doled out more than 20% of their cap on Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers.
Chargers QB Justin Herbert is entering the third year of his rookie contract, which means Los Angeles has a three-year window where they can build around the Pro Bowl MVP and make a strong push for the Lombardi trophy. Factoring in how close the Chargers are to being a contender and how much money they have to spend in free agency, I believe that push starts in 2022.
Making money moves
Los Angeles is loaded with stars on both sides of the ball. Herbert ranked second in passing yards and third in passing touchdowns in 2021, running back Austin Ekeler tied for the most touchdowns (20), and wide receiver Keenan Allen finished top-7 in receptions for the third straight year. Pro Bowlers Joey Bosa and Derwin James Jr. are game-changing players in the front seven and secondary. This team is just a few pieces away from fielding a lethal lineup.
Couple their $68 million of cap space with the 17th pick in the draft, and the prospects of the Chargers overcoming their positional deficiencies this offseason look pretty good. They have enough money to make several big moves in the free agent market, where players like Davante Adams, J.C. Jackson, and Akiem Hicks are available to address key needs. Once Los Angeles makes their first big splash in free agency, we'll see their Super Bowl odds shorten like Danny DeVito, which is why I'm taking them now at +2500.
Stats provided by Pro Football Reference, spotrac.com and nfl.com.