Although Rivers was frustrated with stalled contract talks and the uncertain future of the club’s nucleus early in 2015, he has been rejuvenated by the youth movement of the past two offseasons.
“I’m excited about the young guys we have who are becoming our core guys,” Rivers said last February. “(Jason) Verrett, those inside linebackers, I could go on and on. I’m excited about what that new core is becoming on defense.”
Okung took advantage of a weak tackle market to revive his value after a disappointing one-year Broncos stint that featured too many penalties and QB pressures. The 2010 first-round pick has started 88 of a possible 112 games in Seattle and Denver over seven NFL seasons.
Ranked No. 46 on Around The NFL’s list of the Top 100 free agents, Okung figures to take over at left tackle in Los Angeles, kicking King Dunlap to the right side as D.J. Fluker’s replacement.
No. 3 overall pick Joey Bosa had an electric rookie campaign, finishing with 10.5 sacks in 12 games. The quarterback takedowns don’t even do him justice, as he was constantly terrorizing opposing signal callers and helpless blockers.
While Melvin Ingram is about to hit the open market (he’s No. 7 on Gregg Rosenthal’s list of the top-25 impending free agents), Los Angeles can still apply a franchise tag on the pass rusher who has 18.5 sacks over the past two seasons. The secondary has a trio of tantalizing corners in Casey Hayward, Jason Verrett and Brandon Flowers.
The Chargers will train at Jack Hammett Sports Complex, which is only about two miles from the planned site of their regular-season base in Costa Mesa, California.
The team can use the facility for three to five weeks per year for up to 10 years. The Chargers agreed to make an estimated $1 million in improvements to the complex while paying $150,000 in annual rent.
Once the Chargers studied the offseason landscape, with more than half of the NFL’s 32 teams hoarding at least $35 million in available cap space, they understood that Ingram was likely to draw a lucrative long-term contract worth more than $14 million annually.
Ranked No. 9 on Around The NFL’s list of the Top 101 free agents, Ingram is coming off a stellar 2016 season that featured eight sacks, 19 QB hits, 10 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and five passes defensed.
Speaking with NFL Network’s Alex Flanagan, guard Orlando Franklin, who has been in San Diego the past two seasons, said he was “shocked” by the move.
“It’s unfortunate that we’re moving, but I welcome new beginnings at the end of the day because that’s what is going to happen,” Franklin said. “I’m looking forward to it now, at least we know exactly what’s going on.”