Free agency will be interesting for the Chargers when that time rolls around.
Not expected to have a lot of salary cap space available, Los Angeles will have to be wise on how they spend. Of course, their internal players will be factored in.
Set to have 15 pending free agents, the Chargers have three players that made Pro Football Focus' initial top 100 free agent rankings.
Here are the new contracts PFF projects each player will sign this offseason:
64. LB Drue Tranquill - Contract Projection: Two years, $8.5 million ($4.25M per year); $5 million total guaranteed
70. EDGE Kyle Van Noy - Contract Projection: Two years, $6.5 million ($3.25M per year); $4 million total guaranteed
89. DL Morgan Fox Contract Projection: Two years, $9 million ($4.5M per year); $5 million total guaranteed
Linebacker is not a premium position in Brandon Staley's system, as evident from the Chargers letting Kyzir White walk after an outstanding 2021 season. But Tranquill was impressive not just as a run defender but in coverage and as a pass rusher. Having him back gives Los Angeles their energized playmaker and a vocal leader in the middle of the defense.
When Kenneth Murray was working his way back from offseason ankle surgery, Van Noy played inside linebacker. He was then deployed as an interior blitzer and was also rushing off the edge and playing in coverage. When Joey Bosa suffered his groin injury, Van Noy became a starting edge defender, and he went on to post a sack in five consecutive games.
The Chargers need to address the edge defender this offseason, and while having Van Noy's versatility, leadership and experience would help, he might have played his way toward the end of the season out of their budget. Additionally, Los Angeles may want to go with a younger option via draft.
Fox was signed to supply a pass rush presence along the interior which he did, setting a career-high in sacks (6.5). Given that the Chargers' defensive line room is predominantly filled with run-defense specialists, Fox should be a priority due to his ability to get after the quarterback. Plus, at just 28 years old, he is still in his prime.
Story originally appeared on Chargers Wire