Chargers Should Steal This Free Agent Away From the Chiefs

The Chargers need low-cost help in free agency, and this former Chief is the perfect option.

Sep 15, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jerick McKinnon (1) scores
Sep 15, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jerick McKinnon (1) scores / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Chargers are undergoing a complete facelift this offseason. New head coach Jim Harbaugh and new GM Joe Hortiz inherited a messy salary cap situation and a roster that has underperformed again and again.

They've wasted no time shaking things up to avoid any sort of a rebuild, keeping the Chargers competitive in the AFC West.

The next step is signing a former Kansas City Chief to boost the offense: running back Jerick McKinnon.

Chargers Rumors: Jerick McKinnon a Perfect Free Agent Target

Losing Austin Ekeler left the Chargers with a clear need at the running back position. And rather than sign one of the many big-name stars on the market, they made a quiet move by adding Gus Edwards. McKinnon would be the perfect complement to that Edwards signing.

Edwards posted a career 4.9 yards per carry with the Baltimore Ravens, eclipsing 5.0 in four of his five seasons. There's no doubt that he can run the ball. But he also has only career 30 receptions, compared to 699 rush attempts. He's a total non-factor in the passing game.

Enter, McKinnon.

Jet has caught 269 passes over his eight-year NFL career, and he set a career-high in receiving yards with 512 in 2022 before injuries limited him in 2023. Over the last two years he's averaged 6.8 yards per target, which puts him right in line with Ekeler's career average of 7.0.

The downside of a "thunder and lightning" approach in the backfield is that it can make your offense a little predictable. But often when you're shifting to your receiving back you're already in an obvious passing situation — you're not keeping defenses honest by having Gus Edwards in the backfield on 3rd and 8, and you're not revealing anything they don't already know by having McKinnon out there.

The Chargers sit second in the AFC West with +370 odds to win the division, obviously trailing the Chiefs (-250 favorites).

One move isn't going to flip those odds, but everything the Chargers can to do to close the gap is crucial. And this signing would be a great start.

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