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NFL offseason wish list: Los Angeles Chargers

Three moves I’d love to see the Chargers make this offseason.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at San Diego Chargers Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to our fantasy football wish lists where we’re going through each NFL team and listing three things we’d love to see them do this offseason for fantasy reasons (but also real football reasons).

Continue to improve their 1st half, 1st down play calling

Although the Chargers improved in this area in 2019, there’s more work to be done in 2020. In his review of 1st down outcomes in the 1st half of games, Warren Sharp highlighted the Chargers’ 2019 tendencies and successes. They were middle of the pack in pass/run ratios—an even split of 50/50, an improvement on 2017’s 40/60—and their offense boomed on early downs as a result. They averaged 10.8 yards per pass attempt (best in the league) and 4.8 yards per carry (league average). And get this: they still can improve. However, until this team gets itself an analytics department, they’re not going to be hitting their full potential. It takes numbers-analysis to figure this stuff out. Let’s hope they keep the ball throwing in 2020.

Cut Travis Benjamin and add a better deep threat option

Benjamin gave us some fun times in the Josh McCown/Johnny Manziel 2015 Cleveland season but since then, he’s busted more than boomed. None of the $5.25 million he’s owed this year is guaranteed. The Chargers can cut him and immediately add that total to this season’s salary cap budget -- a move that would seriously behoove them. LA only has $25.9 million available this year and they’ve got a whopping 5 defensive starters with expired contracts, including guys like Jason Verrett and Adrian Phillips.

2019 boasts both a strong wide receiver draft class and solid options in the deep threat department free agent market. Players like John Brown, Chris Hogan, and Mike Wallace would all be substantial upgrades over Travis Benjamin.

Despite Hunter Henry’s return, now is the time to add a rookie tight end

Tight end is a perennial position of weakness in the NFL. In recent seasons, it’s become clear that 3 or more years of NFL experience are often required for a tight end to begin making an impact on the field -- a great example of this is 2014’s No. 10 overall pick, Eric Ebron.

The tight ends of note on the LAC roster are Hunter Henry and Virgil Green. It’s finally safe to assume that Antonio Gates really is hanging them up in 2019. At this point, we know Green will not become the player we thought he could. He’s a mediocre backup. Hunter Henry, on the other hand, is a stellar tight end. He carries injury concerns with him though and those need to be accounted for. Given Henry’s prior “knee strain” in the healthier knee, coupled with last year’s ACL tear, banking on a knee-injury-free future for the 24-year old is not a prudent call. With 2019 bearing a strong tight end class, the Chargers would be wise to add a promising rookie to groom as Henry’s long term replacement.