With the start of free agency less than a month away, it’s a good time to look a few options for the Chargers, to fill some of their needs. Starting with the Offensive.
Per Spotrac, the team have a small amount over $30 million to spend. Some of that will be used to kept some of their own. The likes of safety Tre Boston and tight end Antonio Gates will be expecting offers.
OT Chris Hubbard – Steelers
Hubbard has been a serviceable backup over the last four years for Pittsburgh, since he was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2013. Last year, Hubbard managed to get significant game time due to usual right tackle Marcus Gilbert being injured, and then suspended. Hubbard played a full game at right tackle 8 times. Versatility is also a positive for the lineman, as he filled in as a guard and center during the past season.
Hubbard placed 17th out of the ranked right tackles on Bleacher Report at the end of the season and graded as the 40th best tackle on Pro Football Focus, with a score of 69.7. On the contrary, Joe Barksdale was 32nd and 56th, respectively. Barksdale is still under contract for the 2018 season, but Los Angeles could do with bringing in some competition. According to Steelers.com’s Bob Labriola, Pittsburgh are unlikely to bring back Hubbard:
“Chris Hubbard is a competent and versatile offensive tackle in a league filled with teams needing competent and versatile offensive tackles. On those teams he will be a starter and will command a salary reflecting that. With the Steelers he’s a valuable and versatile backup and only can be paid a salary reflecting that. I predict Chris Hubbard will get an offer to leave the Steelers that he won’t be able to refuse, nor should he.”
OC Ryan Jensen – Ravens
Albeit the assumptions that Los Angeles have finally found their current, and future, center in Spencer Pulley, I see it differently. Pulley replaced Matt Slauson last offseason, and started at a high level. Unfortunately, it was a slow downhill process from there. Like Pulley, it was Jensen’s first year as a full-time starter. He brought a physicality to the Ravens offensive line that they love in the north. Ranked as PFF’s 9th best center, he could be looking at a big payday come March. Baltimore have a history at letting high profile lineman walk, it’s just a matter of whether Jensen is in the Chargers price range.
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TE Virgil Green – Broncos
I wanted to put Eagles Trey Burton here but with Hunter Henry and possibly Antonio Gates, the Chargers are unlikely to be spending too much money on a backup. Also, any pass catching tight end may be put off by the names already here. Instead, I’ve gone with PFF’s second best blocker at the position in 2017. Green might not be the dynamic weapon you’d look for (14 catches for 191 yards and one touchdown) but it’s what the Chargers need. The team’s current backups; Jeff Cumberland, Asante Cleveland and Sean McGrath are all free agents and shouldn’t be brought back.
OG Josh Kline – Titans
Kline has been a constant at right guard for the Titans since coming over from the Patriots. He excels in pass protection, grading at 97.4 on PFF, however struggles in run blocking. Andrew Norwell is likely to cause a stir as the highest profile guard in free agency, which could keep Kline’s price down. With veterans Kenny Wiggins and Matt Slauson set to become free agents, Kline would be a good addition to a young group.
I tried to stay away from the big-ticket players, because of the money available, and that’s not how you build a successful football team. The lack of variety in the positions is on purpose. Skilled players such as receivers and backs should be filled during the draft.
–Thomas Herd is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the Los Angeles Chargers. Follow him on Twitter @chargers_uk.