The 2023 offseason is rolling along.
We got a few of the Chargers' beat writers together to discuss which area the Bolts should focus on the most in the coming weeks and months.
Here's what Jeff Miller (Los Angeles Times), Joe Reedy (Associated Press), Elliott Teaford (Orange County Register), Daniel Popper (The Athletic) and Eric Smith (Chargers.com) had to say:
What is the Chargers biggest offseason priority?
Miller: In watching the playoffs over the past few weeks, I've been struck by how much speed other teams seem to have compared to the Chargers. This is a roster that desperately needs an uptick in mph potential - on both sides of the ball. Having a quarterback with a big arm doesn't mean nearly as much when there's no one capable of running past defensive backs. The Chargers just don't have a legitimate enough down-in, down-out speed threat, someone who can break away and streak to the end zone on any given snap. An offense with Justin Herbert simply has to be more explosive than what the Chargers were in 2022.
Teaford: I believe GM Tom Telesco would be wise to acquire a wide receiver with great speed, either through the draft or via free agency. They lacked a deep threat, especially when Mike Williams was sidelined by injuries. It would give QB Justin Herbert more options and give opposing secondaries fits if he had a real breakaway threat in the deep passing game. A speedy receiver who can turn even short passes into big gains would be a huge bonus for Herbert.
Reedy: Getting an extension done for Justin Herbert. The fifth-year option will be at least $30 million, so trying to reach a long-term deal and spreading out the significance of his salary bump along with how much of an impact it will have on the team's cap percentage in the future makes it that much more important. Getting it done though will likely not happen until the Bengals reach an extension with Joe Burrow. Mike Brown has never wavered from paying his QBs top dollar (Carson Palmer was the highest-paid player in the league for a couple years) but the biggest thing with all future QB deals is going to be guaranteed money after Cleveland's extension with DeShaun Watson last year. We've already seen it play a role in Baltimore with Lamar Jackson.
Popper: Adding more speed to the receiver room. That has been one of the big missing pieces for the offense over the past two seasons. We all know what Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Joshua Palmer can do. All three are talented players. And Williams, especially, has been adept at making plays downfield. But the Chargers need to put more pressure on opposing defenses with elite speed. It will create more opportunities for explosions, both vertically and horizontally. Once Jalen Guyton went down with his torn ACL in Week 3, the Chargers did not have a player who could really threaten opposing defenses in that way.
Smith: Continue to build around Justin Herbert. All eyes will be on Herbert (and other QBs from the 2020 draft class) to see if they sign contract extensions. Time will tell if that happens. But with a young franchise quarterback on the roster, the Bolts should continue doing all they can to give Herbert the tools to succeed. New Chargers Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore is a strong start to the offseason in that regard. Perhaps that means drafting a playmaker in the early rounds to add another option in the passing game. Or maybe it means continuing to invest in the offensive line to give Herbert even more protection up front. No matter what the Bolts do in the coming months, Herbert should be at the forefront of most decisions they make.
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