Entering a new year, the Chargers are surrounded by big decisions. On one end, the time has come to start discussions on what their young star quarterback Justin Herbert’s contract should look like, and on the other, they have needs at five positions. So which direction do the Chargers go in the draft?
Let’s look at it like this Justin Herbert continues to play at a high level. So the Chargers will always have hope. We recently saw Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts sign a massive five-year deal for $255 million. So we may anticipate Herbert getting somewhere around that deal, or at least his agent will use that deal for leverage. Either way, it is soon time to pay for their franchise quarterback. As fans of the game, we all know that when the quarterback gets paid, he takes up a large percentage of the salary cap. This means the pressure is on the front office to find younger and cheaper quality players throughout the draft, as it will make it more difficult to sign higher-priced free agents.
The Chargers hold the 21st pick of the draft and have seven picks overall. They have WR, OT, CB, Edge, and RB needs. So with several needs on the roster and a QB on the verge of getting a massive extension. What should the team do?
Move back from pick 21. NFL Networks draft expert Daniel Jeremiah had his take.
“I think that’s a real possibility, and I think as you’re ready to pay Justin Herbert, having more cheap starters is going to be the way to go,” Jeremiah said.
“I think trading down makes a ton of sense,” Jeremiah added. “If they were to trade down, now you start looking at edge rushers and receivers; I think there’s value down there at the bottom of the first round.”
If the right offer comes along, I will take it in a heartbeat if I were Chargers general manager Tom Telesco. The more picks, the more chances to strike on young talent that take up very little cap space. As I mentioned, with needs at several positions, there is always plenty of value from the late first round through day two. The Chargers don’t lack talent but lack depth, and it’s easier to have younger and cheaper depth from the draft than to rely on high-priced players, especially when your team has a soon-to-be high-priced quarterback.
The Chargers have several players under big contracts. Derwin James, Khalil Mack, Mike Williams, Joey Bosa, and JC Jackson. Factor in a Justin Herbert extension, and now you are in a situation where more draft picks and cheaper quality players are the best method.