Is Earl Thomas a suitable 2020 replacement for an injured Derwin James?
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, “The Chargers play the same system as the #Seahawks with DC Gus Bradley. Earl Thomas is still a free agent. Would be an intriguing option for LAC if they felt compelled to go with a veteran replacement for Derwin James.”
Though they play different safety positions, could Thomas be a fit for the Los Angeles Chargers this fall?
Could Gus Bradley make it work with Earl Thomas in his Chargers secondary?
With Thomas being released by the Baltimore Ravens ahead of the 2020 NFL season, the seven-time Pro Bowler, former All-Pro and future Pro Football Hall of Fame is in need of a new team to play on. While he did star for Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley when they were on Pete Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks, Thomas going to the Bolts feels more like a pipe dream than reality.
If James’ meniscus injury is as significant as it seems to be, this could be a devastating blow to the Chargers’ defensive backfield. While the Bolts have a trio of excellent corners in Chris Harris Jr., Casey Hayward and Desmond King, it is with James’ versatility this defensive backfield can be so menacing. He can play up in the box as a glorified linebacker or drop back into coverage.
Though we’ve seen Thomas lay the hammer before, he’s not a strong safety, but a free safety. Unless Bradley can convince general manager Tom Telesco he’s the perfect replacement player for his system, the Chargers are going to have to look elsewhere. A few strong safeties they could look at include Tony Jefferson, Reshad Jones or Morgan Burnett. Maybe one of them is a fit?
The Chargers may not be as good as they were two years ago, but certainly won’t be as bad as they were last year. Odds are they’ll hover around .500 and push for an AFC Wild Card spot back of the division rival Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West standings. Los Angeles has a deep defense, but won’t be at its best without James for any length of time. Let’s hope his season isn’t over.
The Chargers can look to replace James, but Thomas is not a seamless fit to do so schematically.