5 Realistic Trade Scenarios for San Diego Chargers to Pursue This Offseason
Tom Telesco made just two trades in his first season as San Diego Chargers general manager—a conditional seventh-round pick in 2015 for defensive tackle Sean Lissemore from the Dallas Cowboys and a move in the second round of last year's draft to select linebacker Manti Te'o.
The trade market hasn't appealed much to San Diego in the past, and issues with the salary cap could force the team to remain quiet in 2014. Building through the draft seems to be the more favored approach for Telesco and the front office, which is why predicting a trade next season is like guessing the winning lottery numbers.
Here are five realistic trade scenarios the Chargers could pursue in the draft and in the trade market.
Trade Away Potential Salary-Cap Casualties
Potential cap casualties for the Chargers could include guard Jeromey Clary, fullback Le'Ron McClain and receiver Eddie Royal, per Eric D. Williams of ESPN.
In a perfect world, San Diego would love to get something in exchange for any one of these players, but it takes two to tango in trade talks. Of the three, Royal seems to make the most sense as a player of interest.
He was off and on from week-to-week but still managed to finish with 47 receptions, 631 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. As an added bonus, he has just one year remaining on his contract, so there's no harm for a team in letting him walk if he doesn't pan out.
Trade for Earl Bennett
A breakout season from Alshon Jeffery in 2013 could force the Bears to revisit that idea as Bennett's numbers continue to trend downward. He enjoyed a promising rookie season with Chicago in 2009, but injuries over the next four years stunted his progress.
Injuries and free agency could leave the Chargers thin at receiver, which is why Bennett is a logical trade target. Even if San Diego pursues a receiver in the draft, the need for depth still exists to support Keenan Allen as he ventures into his second year.
Trade for Stephen Hill
Knee injuries in each of his first two seasons have forced Hill to miss nine games, and his development has suffered greatly as a result. Mehta writes that New York will be looking to go after a receiver with the 18th overall pick in this year's draft, which could put Hill's roster spot in serious jeopardy.
The Chargers have their own issues at receiver as Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd continue to rehab from potential career-ending injuries. What Hill may need is a fresh start on a new team to rejuvenate his young career—playing with Philip Rivers wouldn't hurt, either.
Trade for Phil Costa
Former Pro Bowl center Nick Hardwick is weighing retirement following his 10th season with the Chargers, according to Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego, and Rich Ohrnberger, who filled in when Hardwick went down with a neck injury in 2013, will be an unrestricted free agent in March.
Uncertainty at the center position should force San Diego to pursue a player in the upcoming draft, free agency or possibly by way of a trade. One name the Chargers should have on their radar is Dallas Cowboys center Phil Costa, who started 16 games in 2011 and is an unrestricted free agent in 2015.
He was overcome with injuries during the 2012 season and lost the starting job this past season to first-round draft choice Travis Frederick. At 26, Costa has plenty of football left and starting experience that the Chargers need if Hardwick and Ohrnberger don't return.
Trade Up in the Draft for Justin Gilbert or Darqueze Dennard
It's difficult to picture a scenario where Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert falls to the Chargers at No. 25, which is why trading up seems like the most appropriate move.
It's a gutsy call to move up in the first round, especially where most mock drafts project Gilbert to go, but it's worth it for the best cover corner in the draft. Matt Smith, Daniel Jeremiah, Charles Davis and Bucky Brooks of NFL.com unanimously agree that Gilbert will be an option for the Detroit Lions at No. 10.
Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard is also a highly touted corner who will draw interest in the first round. Trading up for him would be another scenario that the Chargers could pursue, as he's projected to go No. 15-22 on NFL.com.