With the NFL trade deadline almost upon us, it is unlikely that San Diego Chargers rookie general manager Tom Telesco will make a trade.
That’s not to say that there are not players available that would be both a good fit in San Diego, and help the Chargers win games, because there are. Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen couldn’t hurt a Chargers pass rush looking to rebound from the loss of Dwight Freeney, and Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd, whose father, Gill Byrd, played for the Chargers, could finally fill the void at safety next to Eric Weddle.
With season ending injuries to both Danario Alexander and Malcolm Floyd, Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald would be a perfect it for the Chargers (he would be a perfect fit for anyone). Fitzgerald would finally give quarterback Philip Rivers the number-one wide receiver he hasn’t had since Vincent Jackson left for Tampa Bay. At 6-foot-three, he is also the size that Rivers loves to throw to. Fitzgerald’s former head coach, Ken Whisenhunt, is even the offensive coordinator for the Chargers.
While any of these options would be great pickups, and the 4-3 Chargers could certainly use an influx of talent to compete in the surprisingly stacked AFC West, the Chargers simply do not have the cap room to make such a trade. The Chargers are still reeling from the last year’s spending spree by former GM AJ Smith, and are still on the hook for millions of dollars for free agent busts Jared Gaither and Robert Meachem. The Chargers have practically no cap room remaining this year, and it looks like next year’s cap situation will be even worse, especially with players like linebacker Donald Butler looking to be locked up to long term deals. Even if the Chargers could afford a trade, they wouldn’t be able to keep them.
Also, it seems that Telesco is perfectly happy to build through the draft. With contributions form tackle D.J. Fluker and wide receiver Keenan Allen, Telesco’s first draft is looking like a good one. With very few star players already, the Chargers would have to give up a early draft pick to acquire any player of note, and I don’t see that as likely. Although the Chargers are very much in the hunt for the last wild card spot, they are still a rebuilding team, and gambling on a trade with future picks isn’t a great way to build a franchise.
While it is fun to speculate, and even better to think of how someone like Fitzgerald could help Phillip Rivers, the best and most likely move the Chargers can make is to not make a trade at all.