The Los Angeles Chargers are formally in win-now mode after a giant offseason that’s seemingly flown below the radar. LA made strikes to bulk up their protection and spent massive bucks to make sure they’ve at the least bought a shot at competing within the AFC over the subsequent couple of years. However this two-to-three-year window they’re in is essential as a result of as soon as Justin Herbert breaks the financial institution, it’ll be robust to maintain this roster intact.
It’s change into the norm within the NFL, and a few would say the simplest approach to win. Find and draft your franchise quarterback, construct an excellent crew round him, then do your finest to win earlier than his time to money out. Not each crew can execute this plan flawlessly, nevertheless it has been confirmed to work.
The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs did it with Patrick Mahomes earlier than his massive deal. They performed in back-to-back Tremendous Bowls, profitable one. The Cincinnati Bengals, led by Joe Burrow, made it to the Tremendous Bowl final season, having modified what number of view the franchise. Earlier than the Rams received a championship final 12 months, they appeared within the massive recreation a couple of years prior, with a younger Jared Goff main the offense.
Then, in fact, everybody remembers the Seattle Seahawks of the mid-2010s and their back-to-back Tremendous Bowl appearances with a younger third-round decide working the offense in Russell Wilson. Having Wilson on such a team-friendly contract helped Seattle construct and preserve the Legion of Increase protection rolling.
This formula has proven successful if the organization plays it right. Even teams that followed and didn’t win it all, like the Bengals, are set up in a good position to make one other run. Cincinnati hadn’t carried out a lot of something for the reason that late 80s. Though they fell in defeat to the Rams in Tremendous Bowl LVI, I’m positive Bengals followers nonetheless cherish that magical season that solely they could’ve imagined.
Now’s the Chargers’ time to hitch this group. All the pieces is about up for them to achieve success, even in a troublesome division just like the AFC West. Herbert is a younger gunslinger who might emerge as a top-five QB by the season’s finish. He’s bought a bonafide No. 1 menace on the skin in Keenan Allen, and so they’ve even been tagged as one of many league’s high QB/WR duos.
Within the offseason, their entrance workplace went out and positive up the protection by buying and selling for All-Professional linebacker Khalil Mack. They locked up All-Professional security Derwin James a couple of days in the past, and All-Professional cross rusher Joey Bosa can also be below a long-term contract. And so they additionally signed Professional Bowler J.C. Jackson away from the Patriots. The Chargers begin All-Execs in any respect three ranges on protection. Mix that with a dynamic offense led by among the finest younger passers within the recreation, and failure shouldn’t be an choice.
However when you step again for a minute and understand who this franchise is, all that optimism can rapidly disappear. In any case, they’re nonetheless the Chargers. Not the San Diego Chargers, however nonetheless the identical group that appears to search out new and progressive methods to lose every year. For a very long time now, I’ve referred to as them the Dallas Cowboys of the AFC. Even when it appears there’s no means for them to lose, they’ll often discover a means.
Most individuals, particularly Chargers followers, are relying on that altering with Herbert below middle.
Herbert’s already handed for the most TDs within the first two years to start out a profession in NFL historical past. Over his first two seasons, Herbert has additionally handed for essentially the most yards (9,350) in NFL historical past and is second behind Mahomes in yards per recreation (292.2).
If the Chargers can’t make a deep playoff run with all this expertise, don’t be stunned when former Saints coach Sean Payton’s title is linked to LA. Payton already has been, but when Brandon Staley can’t get this group into the postseason, his stint in Inglewood could possibly be short-lived. With a loaded roster like this, I count on at the least a postseason look from the Chargers. However for some organizations, it’s exhausting to flee their previous.