With the Chargers coming off on an impressive spanking of the Jaguars at home 38-14, the morale has definitely been lifted. A week after the disastrous meltdown at Kansas City in which the bolts not only lost a 21-point lead, but also lost arguably the best offensive player they have in Keenan Allen, next to Philip Rivers. Although the Chargers played well against the 0-2 Jaguars and Travis Benjamin had 115 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns on only 6 catches, the Chargers are going to need to address the wide receiver position at some point whether, it be during the season or after. The reason being is that although Allen is extremely talented and one of the better wide receivers in the NFL ,with his injury history he can no longer be relied upon as our best receiving option. Moving Allen to the No. 2 wide receiver role would be better for the offense and would only make the Bolts so much more dangerous on that side of the ball.
So with that being said, here are three ways the Chargers can address the situation either during the season or during the offseason.
Sep 11, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) before the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
After the Allen injury, the Chargers decided to sign NFL journeyman Griff Whalen who will look to contribute on special teams and some passing situations but most likely will not see the field much. This addition isn’t a long-term answer so they could potentially be looking for a wide receiver in the offseason. For the most part, the Chargers historically have never been big time players in free agency. The last time the Bolts signed a big-name player was Marcellus Wiley and after that, they never spent big on free agents unless it was their own.
The free-agent group this year is a solid one at wide receiver with the Chicago Bears’ Alshon Jeffery headlining the class. Other names like Vincent Jackson (a former Chargers favorite and current Buccaneer), Pierre Garcon (Washington Redskins), and Desean Jackson (Washington Redskins) could be available. The group is a solid one but unless they feel like Jeffery is completely healthy and willing to take a contract that isn’t ridiculously high then I can’t see the Bolts signing any of these players. Due to the fact that Tom Telesco has made it known in the past that the Chargers will not rely on big name free agents to build the team but will do so primarily through the draft.
It is more likely that we see other positions being addressed during this next free-agent signing period as opposed to wide receiver. Especially when considering that they already spent solid money to get Benjamin here. In my opinion, Chargers won’t be looking at free agency to add a No. 1 wide receiver.
Sep 1, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) warms up before the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Since Allen was injured, there has been much buzz around fans wanting to trade for troubled but extremely talented Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon. Although the trade on paper would look extremely good if he’s brought in, especially when Allen comes back, it’s basically a pipe dream to really expect the Chargers to trade for someone with so much off-the-field issues, especially with the regime currently in place.
Without any concrete names that the Chargers might be looking at, it’s hard to imagine the Chargers going down the path of trading for a marquee name to add a No. 1 receiver to the offense. The only way I see the Bolts making a move for a name is if one of the starters goes down again or a brash of injuries happens to the reserves.
Sep 10, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; USC Trojans receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (9) celebrates after scoring a touchdown pass against the Utah State Aggies during a NCAA football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC defeated Utah State 45-7. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
From the current moves or lack of moves by the Chargers, it looks like the Bolts will try and address the wide receiver position in the draft. There are a bevy of wide receiver options in this upcoming class. Ranging from ultra-talented Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams, who at this point is the No. 1 wideout in the class, JuJu Smith-Schuster from USC, who has started the season out slower than most expected but is an extremely talented wide receiver who has potential to be great, and Mack Hollins from North Carolina, a 6’4″, 210 pound wide receicer who not only possesses great size, but has shown the ability to stretch the field with a 24.8-yards per catch average and eight touchdowns last season. He’s not a big name, but someone worth looking up as he’s been a three-year captain at UNC and is someone who isn’t afraid to play special teams as well and would be a perfect fit next to Allen.
In conclusion, I believe that the Chargers could attack Allen’s injury in so many ways, but the most likely option for the Bolts is the draft. There are some talented prospects this upcoming draft so I wouldn’t be surprised if they would take a chance on one of these guys with their first three picks.