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This Former Day Three Selection Is A Must Re-Sign for The Chargers

Enough changes will be made to this Chargers defense, and Alohi Gilman should not be one of them, he is a must-re-sign for this team.

Former Los Angeles Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco had his fair share of hits and misses in his 10-year tenure with the team. One of his bigger, more recent hits is the Chargers’ current starting safety, Alohi Gilman. That said, Gilman still mightily flies under the radar in the general media and is now an impending free agent for the Bolts. To get a good, starting safety for likely under the current market value for such would be a very strong start for this new regime.

This Former Day Three Selection Is A Must Re-Sign for The Chargers

Why Did Alohi Gilman Initially Fall In The Draft?

Coming out of Notre Dame, Gilman was a playmaker no matter where he was on the field. In his last season with the Irish, he played as a box safety, free safety, and slot corner at times. His versatility and ability to make plays was something that was noted by draft analysts but was not taken all too seriously due to athletic downfalls.

As an athlete, Gilman struggled. He posted a very poor 3.82 RAS Score after his combine performance. His lack of size, speed, and mental breakdowns in coverage led NFL teams to wait to select the former Navy Transfer. The Chargers eventually selected the safety in the sixth round.

Alohi Gilman’s Career in A Vacuum

The 2020 & 2021 Seasons

As a sixth-round rookie safety, there was not much play to be had for Gilman. He was mainly a special teamer, who at times struggled collecting two penalties and a poor 45.7 PFF Grade.

Moving into 2021, he majorly improved his special teams ability, earning- what is still a career-best 69.4 PFF Special Teams Grade. Beyond his play on special teams, Gilman recorded 355 defensive snaps, playing as mainly a free safety. Though his 58.8 PFF defensive grade is nothing to be impressed by, it was much-needed playing time by the then, second-year player.

The 2022 & 2023 Seasons

Moving into 2022, Alohi Gilman was fighting for snaps with Nasir Adderley, a former second-round selection by the Bolts. He played as the third safety behind Adderley and Derwin James. After the Chargers defensive unit was failing mightily under Brandon Staley, some personnel switches were needed. Gilman stepped into the starting free safety role and showed immense prowess in his first true breakout game. In week 14 against the high-flying Miami Dolphins offense, Gilman recorded an 87.8 PFF grade with a 91.4 run defense grade. A sign of things to come for the hard-hitting safety.

In 2023, Adderley retired from the sport of football. This led the Chargers to obviously not retain him as he was a free agent. Gilman instantly took the starting job and ran with it. He missed three games due to injury, but still played 928 snaps, playing both in the box, slot, and mainly as the high safety. In his playtime, he recorded the second-best Chargers defensive grade on the season, with an 86.1. The only player in front of him was the legendary, Khalil Mack.

Beyond his PFF grades, it was known when Gilman was on the field. He constantly made plays, whether it was crucial pass breakups, forced fumbles, or interceptions. He was a playmaker for this secondary, always having crucial plays at crucial times. Big-time players, make big-time plays, in big-time situations.

Market For Alohi Gilman

The Safety market is hard to predict. You have someone like the  Chargers own Derwin James making north of 20 million a year. Then you have very solid veterans making the near-league minimum. Since Alohi Gilman is a former day-three selection, he likely will not get the same treatment as former day-one or two draftees will, though he has outplayed plenty of them.

A few notable, recent contracts in a similar vein to Gilman:

Mike Edwards: 1-Year For 3 Million

Nick Scott: 3-Years For 12 Million

Marcus Epps: 2-Years For 12 Million

Juan Thornhill: 3-Years For 21 Million

Jordan Whitehead: 2-Years For 14.5 Million

As unpredictable as the safety market is, expect Gilman to likely get a deal like Nick Scott or Marcus Epps. Both of these guys were later day three selections who performed much better than expected. They both ended up going to different teams, signing a multi-year deal worth anywhere from 4-6 million per year. Hopefully, Gilman and the Chargers can come to an agreement, and he can continue his playmaking ability in the Powder Blues.

The Bottom Line – Chargers Must Re-Sign Him

When you see a success story like Alohi Gilman, it should make the decision very easy for the Chargers. We all know that the cap situation is very poor for the bolts, but there are plenty of moves that can be made to clear up enough cap space for the fan favorite. The Chargers defense will be going through plenty of change this year, with guys like Daiyan Henley and Tuli Tuipulotu being asked to do more than ever. Beyond this, the depth behind Gilman is suspect. You have plenty of options; but no one that should be a full-time starter. Furthermore, plenty of veterans may be let go, leading to even more personnel changes.

The one player the Chargers should really focus on re-signing this offseason has to be Gilman. Enough changes will be made to this Chargers defense, and Alohi Gilman should not be one of them.

Main Photo: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports


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