Chargers free agency outlook in 2021
The 2020 NFL season is on the horizon. It is never too early to look forward because the Chargers have a lot of key players set to hit free agency.
General manager Tom Telesco has been proactive this summer. He brought in four key players guard Trai Turner, tackle Bryan Bulaga, cornerback Chris Harris Jr., and defensive tackle Linval Joseph. All four players will be essential for the next few seasons.
Last week, Telesco made a big splash when he gave defensive end Joey Bosa a five-year contract extension making him the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.
"When you get down to the dollars, I try to stay out of that," Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said to the media. "It's my job to build these players up and make them feel like Superman, but when they want to get paid like Superman, I kind of step back."
Four players will be coming off the books in 2021 that may feel like Supermen because of all they bring to the team.
No player has been more consistent then receiver Keenan Allen. He has posted over 90 catches and reached the 1000 receiving yards mark the last three seasons. He may be one of the most underrated players in the NFL.
Allen can line up all over the field and make plays. One of the best features of Allen's game is his get-off and route running. He is one of the best route runners in the NFL, which helps him create separation from the corners.
The former Cal receiver is going into his eighth season and is barely 28-years old. He will help quarterback Tyrod Taylor this season and even help with the development of rookie Justin Herbert, which is crucial.
The tight end is coming off his best statistical season despite missing four games due to a knee injury. He is on a franchise tag, and if he has an even better season, Hunter will be looking for a huge payday.
The problem with Henry is that he hasn't been able to play a full 16 game season. When he is in the game, though, there is no doubt he is a game-changer. He is an athletic tight end that has a big frame. If he can play a full season, he could be a significant weapon for Taylor and earn himself a payday.
Since signing with the team in 2018, Pouncey has been a massive addition to the Chargers offensive line. That season the team went 12-4 and made it to the divisional round of the playoffs. Last season, the Florida Gators alum had to miss 11 games due to a neck injury that required surgery. The offensive line struggled in his absence.
A couple of months ago, Pouncey told the media on a Zoom call that he had been cleared for the upcoming season. According to Lynn, Pouncey looks good and will be the starter going into this season.
The Bolts improved the right side of the line with the additions of Turner and Bulaga. If the offensive line has a good season, it will be hard to argue against Pouncey being re-signed.
The defensive end has been a consistent playmaker on the defense. Since Bosa was drafted in 2016, they have been one of the best pass-rushing duos in the NFL. Ingram is also coming off a third consecutive pro bowl season and looking to make it a fourth.
Whatever success the Chargers have this season will have to do with how good the defense preforms. If they happen to be a top-three defense, it will be hard for Telesco to let Ingram leave in free agency, especially with what he brings to the table.
"I always have future years in my mind," Telesco said. "I'd say right now, they're in the back of my mind not in the front of my mind, but we're set up pretty well for 2021 no matter what happens. So, I feel pretty good about that. We're in a good position for that part down the road, so that's not a concern right now."
Out of that list, Keenan Allen is the one who seems to stand out. With Bosa's contract signed, according to NFL Networks Jim Trotter, the Bolts brass has begun to talk to the receiver's representation about a contract extension.
Telesco has big decisions coming up.
If Telesco can extend both Bosa and Allen going into the 2020 season, that will be the equivalent of a grand slam.