Are the Chargers Free Agents Worth Their Projected Contracts?

Chargers Free Agents

The Los Angeles Chargers have no shortage of good free agents set to hit the market, and each player is due for a pay raise. Recently, the fine folks at Pro Football Focus projected contracts for 100 of the top free agents, and three Chargers made the list. Now, nobody claims every single one of these projections will be 100% accurate, but assuming they’re in the right ballpark, let’s take a look at if the Chargers should re-sign any of these players.

PFF Projects Contracts For Three Chargers Free Agents

1. Drue Tranquill, LB

Projected Contract: Two years, $8.5 million; $5 million guaranteed

The highest-rated player of all the Chargers free agents, Drue Tranquill is hitting free agency at the right time. After spending his first three years as a backup, the fourth-round pick finally earned the chance to start in 2022, and he made the most of his opportunity. Appearing in all 17 games, Tranquill finished the season with five sacks, a staggering 145 tackles, 10 tackles-for-loss, and eight quarterback hits while also holding his own in coverage.

If you could guarantee Tranquill continued to play like that over the next two years, then this projected contract would be a steal. However, because 2022 was his first season as a full-time starter, there is some risk that this was a career year and he won’t be able to play at that high of a level at a consistent rate. That being said, for just over $4 million a year, Tranquill is well worth the risk. The former fourth-round pick is a true three-down linebacker that can function in coverage and as a run defender, and players like that are hard to find.

2. Kyle Van Noy, EDGE

Projected Contract: Two years, $6.5 million; $4 million guaranteed

The one Patriots free agent signing that actually paid off, Kyle Van Noy had a great first season in Los Angeles. A versatile chess piece that can play a multitude of positions, Van Noy definitely deserves a chance to play on an NFL defense. Unfortunately, that opportunity might not come with the Chargers.

As mentioned in a previous article, the Chargers are currently $20 million over the salary cap and will need to cut a few players in the coming weeks. Los Angeles needs to be incredibly careful with their money, and that might mean they won’t have the available financial resources to invest in a good-but-not-great player entering his age-32 season. Granted, this is a relatively cheap contract, so maybe the Chargers find a way to make it work, but that’s anything but a guarantee.

3. Morgan Fox, DT

Projected Contract: Two years, $9 million; $5 million guaranteed

The last of the Chargers free agents on the list, opinions on Morgan Fox will vary dramatically depending on what you value in a player. While Fox is an above-average pass rusher, he is terrible against the run. The Chargers had arguably the worst run defense in football, and the team is likely to address that weakness in the NFL Draft. Considering the Chargers current financial situation, it’s hard to justify investing $4.5 million per season in a player with that will not fix one of the biggest issues with the 2022 iteration of the team. Fox is a fine situational rusher, but for that type of money, you need somebody that isn’t a liability in short-yardage and early-down situations.

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