The Los Angeles Chargers made a switch at tight end this off-season. They went with the veteran Jared Cook in 2021, and while that was not a bad idea at the time as a stopgap measure, Cook did have his ups and downs. The Chargers let him go in free agency this year and ended up signing Gerald Everett, who had spent the last season with the Seattle Seahawks. Everett has not quite crossed 500 receiving yards in a season yet (he had 478 in 2021), but that should change this year. Though the Chargers offense does have plenty of mouths to feed, expect Everett to see a notable role this year.
Expect Gerald Everett to Have a Big Role in Los Angeles Chargers Offense
Justin Herbert and Tight Ends
The first thing that should be talked about here is how much quarterback Justin Herbert likes to target tight ends. After the two star receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, Cook was the third-most targeted receiver/tight end on the team with 83 targets, finishing with 564 yards and four touchdowns. However, he also had the worst catch percentage on the entire team with 57%. And a non-negligible number of Herbert’s interceptions, such as the one shown below, in 2021 came because of miscommunications with Cook or the latter screwing up his route or not looking for the ball.
Justin Herbert and Jared Cook weren't on the same page. Cook doesn't turn around as the ball's arriving, and former Charger Adrian Phillips nabs his second interception of the game, taking this one to the house. 24-17 Patriots after the 2-point conversion. pic.twitter.com/EpgCp1d8F0
— Bobby Krivitsky (@BobbyKrivitsky) October 31, 2021
When the 2021 Pro Bowl came, Herbert shared the field temporarily with Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews. Three of his seven completions went to Andrews, two of which were for touchdowns. Andrews is a top-tier tight end in this league, but this showed what having a more dependable tight end could do for Herbert and the Chargers. Granted, it was the Pro Bowl, but their connection was electric.
Gerald Everett History
Everett, at first glance, would appear to have had a bit of a quiet career. As mentioned earlier, his career-high for receiving yards in one season is 478. There have been some reasons for this, however. His first four seasons came with the Los Angeles Rams, where he had to share tight end duties with Tyler Higbee – and in 2017 and 2018, tight ends simply were not featured that much in the Rams offense. That changed in 2019, but Higbee was the clear TE1, finishing with 734 yards. Despite that, Everett finished with 408 yards – which is actually pretty good given that he was playing second fiddle to Higbee and was already on an offense with a lot of mouths to feed.
Everett signed with the Seahawks in 2021, which finally gave him an opportunity to be the TE1. And while he did have career bests with 48 receptions for 478 yards and four touchdowns, the fact is that Russell Wilson’s Seahawks historically did not feature tight ends much in their offense. With the exception of Jimmy Graham, no Seahawks tight end crossed 500 yards under Wilson. And more recently, Wilson had essentially been spamming the ball to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Not to mention, Wilson was not the same after his injury in 2021. With all of that in mind, it is clear that we have not seen Everett’s ceiling for a full season yet.
Projecting Everett’s 2022 Season
Given that Cook was able to finish with 564 yards despite not always being on the same page with Herbert, it’s probably fair to assume that Gerald Everett will surpass this. He is still in his prime and as stated, we have not seen his ceiling yet. The main question mark with regards to projecting his season is the fact that the Chargers have a lot of mouths to feed on the offense. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams remain the top pass-catchers on the team, but Austin Ekeler is out there to catch passes out of the backfield as well. And while Jalen Guyton’s output as primarily a long-pass-catcher is likely to remain consistent from the last two years, it is quite plausible we may see Josh Palmer’s output increase in Year Two.
However, if both history and Herbert’s short time with Andrews in the Pro Bowl are anything to go off of, Everett ought to be the third-most targeted receiver/tight end on the team. The only question is if he would outpace Ekeler for targets or not. With all of this in mind, Everett should be able to reach 600-700 receiving yards, with 600 being a minimum. Not being able to outdo Cook’s 2021 (barring injury, of course) would be quite a disappointment.
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