Yesterday, I discussed the Chargers’ offensive free agents, today it’s about the other side of the ball. Los Angeles have nine defensive players and one on special teams, with expiring contracts come March.
A reminder: the team has a hint over $30 million to spend, according to Spotrac.com.
FS Tre Boston (UFA)
Boston signed a one year “prove it” deal back in May, after an up and down three years in Carolina. He responded like a player that had something to prove. The safety set career highs in interceptions (5), tackles (56) and pass deflections (8). The Chargers have recently invested heavily in their safety ranks, signing Jahleel Addae to a four-year deal, last offsesaon. With Boston, I expect them to do the same.
S Adrian Phillips (UFA)
The Chargers staff seem to love Adrian Phillips. Whether you agree it not, it’s quite clear to see. So much so, Phillips has played over 1,000 snaps over the last two seasons. Towards the back-end of last season, he played more of a nickel linebacker role, rather than a typical safety. I don’t think he has the speed or size to play this position, but to keep him as a backup would be sensible.
DE Chris McCain (RFA)
In a season that couldn’t have started worse for the team, McCain was one of a few bright spots early on. He recorded three sacks in as many games to begin the year. Two more sacks came in week 7, vs Denver, but then failed to produce any till the end of the season. After bouncing around the league, he may have found a home in LA, and being a RFA, the ball is firmly in the team’s court.
DL Tenny Palepoi (RFA)
Versatile is an overrated word in football, but certainly helps a player like Palepoi. Depth is key along the defensive line and Palepoi has provided that since joining in 2014.
LB Korey Toomer (UFA)
Alike McCain, Toomer has been part of a fair share of teams, but has found a role in LA. In limited time, he has proved himself as a play-maker, displaying this effectively with five forced fumbles in the last two seasons. Unlikely to be a three-down ‘backer, he can still make an impact as a situational player.
DE Jeremiah Attaochu (UFA)
A player that promised so much, however couldn’t stay on the field long enough to display his talents. Natural pass rushers are premium in this league, so the former second-round pick will get another chance, albeit somewhere else. Attaochu peaked in his sophomore year, totaling six sacks, while starting 12 games. From that point, he would only participate in 12 further games in two years, with two sacks.
K Nick Novak (UFA)
The topic of kickers will be a consist theme over the next few months, and right now it’s still a touchy subject, so I’ll keep this short and sweet. Novak shouldn’t have been called back and the team are already making moves to stop the position being an issue next year.
LB Nick Dzunbar (RFA)
Lead the league in special teams tackles, with 21, 4 more than any other player. The Chargers also had second place in that category with Austin Ekeler, who completed 17. Although, those numbers don’t add up to the play on the field. The coverage unit was far from up to scratch this past season. Dzunbar offers very little on defense, which doesn’t help his case.
DE Kaleb Eulls (RFA)
Joined in the last quarter of the 2016 season, and spent 2017 on IR. A formality release.
So, there we have it. The Chargers have lots of key decisions to make between now and March. Who would you bring back for the 2018 season?
–Thomas Herd is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the Los Angeles Chargers. Follow him on Twitter @chargers_uk.