With San Diego’s 2015 season over and done and the NFL playoffs underway, it is time to set our sights on the future and how this team can improve. The Bolts lost 12 games last year so obviously they are more than a couple of moves away from being taken seriously.
The AFC West has three teams that are possibly poised for years of profound success. This leaves The Chargers as the odd team out. They undoubtedly have some great players sprinkled throughout their current roster. Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen, Jason Verrett, and Denzel Perryman all have Pro Bowl caliber talent.
What General Manager Tom Telesco needs to focus on is how to compliment those type of players through the draft and free agency. More times than not, a drafted player needs a year or two of NFL experience to truly find what their potential is. However, for immediate help, the way to go is through free agent signings. Now if The Chargers get one shot at a free agent this off-season, the one player they should make the hardest push at acquiring is Alshon Jeffery.
Jeffery was drafted out of the University of South Carolina in 2012 by The Chicago Bears. He went in the second round and was the 45th pick overall. He’s only 25 years old. He’s 6’3, 216 pounds and has become the number one target for The Bears over the course of his four-year career. In those four years he has 252 catches, 3,728 yards, and 24 touchdowns. He’s fast, strong, young, and exactly what the Chargers need.
Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen were a lethal combo in the early part of the season with both players on record-setting paces. Allen suffered a lacerated kidney during a week 9 contest against the Baltimore Ravens where he made a spectacular catch in the end zone for a touchdown.
This was where quarterback Philip Rivers found himself in some trouble. With an offensive line giving him little to no time to throw the football, a rookie running back that looked lost on almost every play, and his two former, favorite targets Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd on the tail end of their career, it was very apparent that Rivers and the bolts needed assistance.
Though Telesco and Gates have expressed interest in working out a contract for at least one more year, WR Malcom Floyd has announced his retirement. Malcom was picked up by The Chargers in 2004 as an un-drafted free agent and went on to have an illustrious 11 year career for the bolts and become one of the greatest Chargers of all time. Though he struggled with injury, especially later in his career, he was one of Philip Rivers’ most reliable targets. This is where Alshon comes in.
Jeffery has great speed and the ability to get behind secondary’s for the deep ball which is what Malcom’s primary job was during the latter part of his career. Though, he is not JUST burner like some wide receivers such as Martavis Bryant and DeSean Jackson have become known for. He’s shown ability to run across the middle of the field and get open inside tight windows which Rivers has been known to throw inside time and time again.
Charger fans got a first hand glimpse into the talent of Jeffery when the Bears came into San Diego on Monday Night Football On November 9th of last season. He torched the San Diego secondary with 10 catches on 16 targets and 151 yards. Games such as that were not uncommon for Jeffery either. He went for over 100 yards in four out of the nine games he played last season. Nine games, however, is not what you want from such an important part of your offense. His durability is indeed something to take into consideration. In four seasons with Chicago he has only played 16 games twice. There’s also been reports suggesting that he has a bit of an attitude problem as well. So is he worth it?
Short answer is: Yes. Alshon has put up some fantastic numbers despite having Jay Cutler as a Quarterback in the sometimes unforgiving Chicago weather. Any kind of attitude issues should be hammered out by veterans like Rivers and Gates who appear to keep the locker room in fairly positive shape.
Having a wide receiving core with a healthy Keenan, Alshon, and Stevie for 2016 would be absolutely terrifying for opposing secondary’s. With defenses already worrying about what Gates will be up to, there’s no telling what Alshon could add to San Diego’s offense. This is especially true with the announcement that Ken Whisenhunt will be returning as offensive coordinator who saw great success in his last stint with the Bolts. If Telesco wants the best chance of winning, he will go make Alshon Jeffery a Charger.