Quarterback Justin Herbert had a successful rookie season, but the Los Angeles Chargers endured a difficult campaign in the AFC West. The team finished in third place with a 7-9 record, a far cry from the Chiefs' 14-2 season.
To make it back to the upper half of the division and return to the playoffs, the Los Angles Chargers need to retool their roster. This offseason, the team can bring in several talented players through the trade market. Trading up in the NFL Draft to land an elite prospect is also an option.
With that in mind, here's a look at three players the Los Angeles Chargers should trade for this offseason.
#1 CB Marshon Lattimore could be a star on the Chargers' defense
The Chargers’ pass coverage unit entered the 2020 season with high expectations. Unfortunately, Derwin James never took the field, and Chris Harris Jr. missed half the season. As a result, the Chargers' defense suffered, as the team's secondary ranked 19th in the NFL.
Los Angeles could clearly use some reinforcements at cornerback, and the Saints need to clear some cap space, so Marshon Lattimore could be available for the right price.
Lattimore had a few issues with his discipline on the field last year, but he's still an elite cornerback. He'd be a massive upgrade for the Chargers' secondary.
To acquire Lattimore through a trade, the Chargers would probably have to give up two second-round picks (2021 and 2022). The price might seem expensive, but this trade would make sense for both teams.
#2 Orlando Brown Jr. could protect Justin Herbert for several years
The Chargers' biggest problem last season was their inability to protect Justin Herbert. The star quarterback is on his way to becoming one of the best passers in the league. But unless the Chargers substantially upgrade their offensive line, the team will continue to struggle.
Failing to protect Herbert could be disastrous, and the Bengals learned that lesson the hard way with their own rookie quarterback, Joe Burrow. The Chargers' new head coach Brandon Staley can't allow his prize asset to face the kind of pressure he did last year.
To be fair to coach Staley and general manager Tom Telesco, they brought in Trai Turner and Bryan Bulaga during the 2019 offseason to improve the offensive line. Unfortunately, both players struggled with injuries throughout the 2020 season, and the Chargers' offensive line ranked as the worst unit in the league.
Orlando Brown Jr. has blossomed in Baltimore, and he would definitely help the Chargers protect Herbert. The big University of Oklahoma product is determined to continue his tenure at left tackle after he filled in at the position for the Ravens last year. He's reportedly willing to leave Baltimore in order to play in his favored position going forward.
To land a player of Brown Jr.'s caliber, the Chargers would likely need to surrender a first-round pick to the Ravens. But with the priority to keep Herbert safe behind the line, the Chargers should consider this move.
Assuming Bulaga and Turner return to some semblance of fitness and form next season, the trio of Bulaga, Turner, and Brown Jr. could be dominant in the AFC West.
#3 Penei Sewell could be a franchise player for the Chargers
If Orlando Brown Jr. isn't available in a trade, the Chargers should move up in the trade to select Oregon Ducks tackle Penei Sewell. In fact, the Chargers could try to acquire both players so they could turn their disappointing offensive line into a stength.
Sewell is an incredible talent, and he would be a great option to plug the leaky holes along the offensive line in front of Herbert.
Sewell was absolutely dominant during his collegiate career. In 2019, he became the first sophomore to win the Outland Trophy, and he also received a 95.5 rating via PFF, the highest grade for any offensive tackle in college football history. Ironically, he was protecting Herbert, as the two players were teammates in college.
For the Chargers, reuniting this pair would truly be a match made in heaven.
Most mock drafts predict that Sewell will get picked in the top five. Likewise, many analysts agree that the Cincinnati Bengals should take him with the fifth overall pick. To land their man, the Chargers would likely need to trade up in the draft.
Trading away one of their own stars or surrendering two first-round picks would likely be enough to make this deal happen. As with other trades on this list, it would be an expensive move. But success in the NFL comes at a cost, and the Chargers should do whatever it takes to upgrade their offensive line.