Chargers focus on defense in NFL Free Agency

The Los Angeles Chargers started

free agency with $57.5 million dollars

in salary cap space and a defense

that was one of the worst in the NFL in

2021. The Chargers were 31st against

the run in 2021 and last in third down

defense in the NFL. It was obvious to

the Chargers and NFL critics that the

Chargers had to fix their defense.

The Chargers started free agency

off with a trade for a star outside linebacker

Khalil Mack from the Chicago

Bears. The Chargers traded a second-

roundpick in the upcoming 2022

NFL draft and a 6th round pick in the

2023 NFL draft to acquire Mack, a very

small price to pay for a superstar defensive

player.The Chargers agreed

to pick up Mack’s full $63 million dollar

contract for the next three years.

This is a huge trade for the Chargers.

Mack was the 2016 Defensive

Player of the Year with the Oakland

Raiders. He is a 6-time Pro Bowl linebacker,

three years with the Raiders

and three years with the Bears. He

made the National Football League

2010s All-Decade Team, as one of the

best players of the decade.

In his eight-year career, Mack has

76.5 sacks, 23 forced fumbles, 10 fumble

recoveries, 3 interceptions and 2

defensive touchdowns. Mack can set

the edge in the run game and is con

sidered a terrific teammate. He does

not take plays off and that will be an

important trait for a defense that lacked

consistent intensity last season.

The Chargers used their $57.5 million

in salary cap space for the 2022

season to fit Mack’s salary of $17.75

million in for 2022. Mack, who turned

31 in February, has at least three good

seasons left in him. The Bears needed

salary cap space for the 2023 season,

and they wanted at least a second-

round pick for Mack in the 2022

NFL draft. They got both from the


The Chargers followed up on the

Mack trade with another huge acquisition,

agreeing to an $82.5 million,

five-year contract with cornerback

J.C. Jackson of the Patriots.The contract

comes with a signing bonus of

$25 million and has $40 million in guaranteed

money. The salary cap number

for the first season is just $8 million.

Jackson was considered the top free

agent cornerback on the market. Jackson

was a Pro Bowl starter in 2021 at

cornerback, and was also second team


Jackson, who is just 26 years of age,

intercepted 25 passes in his four seasons

with the Patriots, 17 the past two

seasons. He is a playmaker, something

the Charger defense has needed for a

long time. The addition of Mack and

Jackson gives the Charger defense

four Pro Bowl players on defense, plus

some nice young talent in cornerback

Asante Samuel Jr., linebacker Kenneth

Murray and linebacker Drue Tranquill.

Mack is excited about the future with

his new teammates. “When you talk

about Joey Bosa, Derwin James, Jackson,

Asante Samuel Jr., all of these different

intangibles, and these guys are

very explosive players and explosive

playmakers. I’m looking forward to it,”

said Mack.“Like I said, that’s the easy

part, to talk about it. But I’m an action

guy. That’s what I’m looking forward

to, putting in the work and winning ball

games, ultimately.”

The Chargers were not done, as

their next moves were to strengthen

the run defense. They added defensive

tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day of the

Los Angeles Rams to a reported threeyear,

$24 million contract with $15 million

guaranteed and then signed New

York Giants defensive tackle Austin

Johnson to a contract is worth up to

$14 million over two years, according

to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Both players are good versus the

run, an area that is a huge offseason

priority for the Chargers. The NFL confirmed

that the Chargers had picked

up four additional compensatory draft

picks for the 2022 NFL draft, which will

give the Chargers a total of ten draft

picks in the upcoming draft. The Chargers

will have two picks in the sixth

round and four picks in the seventh


General Manager Tom Telesco and

his staff did an excellent job of clearing

salary cap space to produce these

acquisitions, while still holding onto

and accumulating draft picks. They

have set the team up well for the 2022

season in the highly competitive AFC



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