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Chargers Get High Grades for Recent Free Agency Moves

03.16 Buzz

The NFL's free agency period is in full swing, as the Chargers have made some key moves in constructing their roster for 2023 and beyond.

The Bolts kicked off free agency with a bang Tuesday by signing All-Pro linebacker Eric Kendricks to a multi-year contract. Among other moves, the team also re-signed tackle Trey Pipkins III and defensive lineman Morgan Fox, two crucial players at their respective positions this past season.

These moves have drawn praise from NFL pundits, as the Chargers continue to look to build towards the next season.

Kendricks has been the lone signing to come from outside of the building so far, as he joins the Bolts after playing the last eight seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. CBS Sports' Tyler Sullivan credited the move, giving it an ‘A-’ grade given what Kendricks offers to the middle of the Chargers defense.

Sullivan wrote:

It's hard not to like this move for both sides. Kendricks gets a chance to continue his career with a playoff caliber team. The Chargers get a talented player who can shore up the middle of their defense.

Browse through photos of the Chargers newest linebacker, Eric Kendricks

Kendricks has been one of the most productive players at his position since the day he stepped in the NFL, as he ranks sixth among active players in total tackles (919) and continuously finds himself around the ball.

Sticking on defense, the re-signing of Fox will also provide a lot of value to a defensive line that hopes to be healthier in 2023. Fox joined the Chargers following the 2022 NFL Draft on a 1-year deal as a depth piece, but quickly became much more than that as he notched a career-high 6.5 sacks and provided stability for a unit that saw many miss time with injury.

Fox's versatility to move across the defensive line was something that was great to have and is something that will continue next season. Bleacher Report's Kristopher Knox gave this move a ‘B+’ grade, as Fox's value to the Bolts is something that may go underrated on a national level.

Knox wrote:

Fox was one of the Chargers' few reliable front-line defenders this past season and was one of the NFL's most underappreciated interior pass-rushers. He appeared in all 17 games, started 12 and played 55 percent of the defensive snaps… Keeping him in the fold, though, is a very positive development for the Chargers defense.

Take a look back at the best photos of the defense's 2022 campaign

The Chargers were also able to retain a major piece on the offensive line, as they agreed to terms on a multi-year contract with Pipkins. Pipkins, a 2019 third-round pick by the Bolts, won the starting right tackle position in training camp and helped anchor the right side of the offensive line.

The 2022 season was the most recent example of his development in the NFL, something he has done every year in the league. The re-signing of Pipkins gives the Chargers some continuity along the offensive line, and a core that they hope continues to protect quarterback Justin Herbert for years to come.

The move garnered a 'A' grade in terms of fit/need and 'B+' grade in the value department in the eyes of Pro Football Focus’ website, who mentions the good situation the Bolts have at both their tackle spots. read:

Trey Pipkins had somewhat of a breakout 2022 campaign, after three years serving as the Chargers' primary swing tackle. He managed to win the right tackle job in training camp and held it throughout the season…

Pipkins' deal gives the Chargers some stability at right tackle, something the franchise has been searching for a very long time. He and All-Pro Rashawn Slater should return to form one of the better tackle duos in the NFL in 2023.

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