Chargers Rumors

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/18/19

Here are Monday’s minor moves:

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

League Notes: Burfict, Goodell, Kearse, Rivers

In an exclusive interview with Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required), controversial Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict laid into the league and did not seem to leave any thought unspoken. Burfict, who is currently serving a suspension that began after Week 4 and spans to the end of the season, was adamant that his behavior does not compare to Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who was recently suspended indefinitely after swinging a helmet at Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph.

Burfict also detailed the suspension process, including the appeal meeting he had with league executives. The former Bengals linebacker claims the league had already decided on the suspension prior to the meeting and had no interest in hearing his side of the story. On top of some colorful language used at the expense of multiple execs, the piece offers an interesting view into Burfict’s place in the Raiders locker room.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Vikings safety Jayron Kearse may not be in Minnesota for much longer given the tone of his tweets today. This morning Kearse tweeted out that he was “excited” for his future, but when a fan replied asking if the Vikings will be a part of his future, Kearse replied “No.” Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press noted the back and fourth and added that Kearse did not answer him on Friday when Tomasson asked if he would start in tomorrow’s game against the Broncos given Anthony Harris‘ injury. Tomasson speculates that Andrew Sendejo could instead be the starting safety.
  • Longtime Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers‘ contract expires at the end of this season and set to turn 38 in December, it would not be a shock for the veteran to declare this his last professional season. However, Rivers remains noncommittal on his future, according to Eric D. Williams of ESPN. Rivers still has a desire to play in the Chargers new stadium when it opens in 2020, but wants to take some time after the season ends to evaluate where he is physically and mentally before making any final determination.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/15/19

Not too many minor moves to report as we head into the weekend:

Los Angeles Chargers:

The Chargers’ normal longsnapper Cole Mazza has been listed on the injury report with an illness the past couple of days, which helps explain this move.

Chargers Designate Adrian Phillips For Return

Adrian Phillips is on his way back to the Bolts. On Thursday, the Chargers designated the safety for return from the injured reserve list. 

Phillips suffered a broken forearm in a September loss to the Lions, knocking him out of action. The Chargers have remained optimistic about his chances to return this year, however, and he’s primed to do just that. The sixth-year pro now has a three-week window to practice and get ready to play. If the Chargers do not activate him within that timeframe, he will not be eligible to play this year.

Phillips earned his first career Pro Bowl nod last year, and the Bolts were excited to see what the hybrid safety/linebacker could do in 2019. Instead, they’ve had to get by without him and other key defenders which has led to some mixed results. The Chargers managed back-to-back wins against the Bears and Packers recently, but Thursday night’s loss to the Raiders has them at 4-6 and on the verge of falling out of the playoff chase.

Things won’t get much easier for the Chargers – they’ll face the Chiefs on Monday night in Mexico City and quarterback Patrick Mahomes says he’s feeling better than he has all season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Tevi Has Knee Scope

  • The Chargers are going to be without starting right tackle Sam Tevi for a bit, as he underwent surgery on his knee to scope his meniscus, according to Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said the injury isn’t season-ending, and that he’ll be back sooner rather than later. Trent Scott, a second-year UDFA, has been filling in. Scott has been dreadful in his place so Los Angeles could really use Tevi back, even though he has never been too solid either.

Derwin James To Return In Week 13

One of the NFL’s best safeties will be returning for the final stretch of the 2019 campaign. After undergoing surgery during the summer and missing most the season, Chargers defensive back Derwin James is expected to return to game action in Week 13, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

James suffered a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal of his right foot in August after a screw originally inserted during his freshman year at Florida State bent back. The injury required a surgical operation to remove the screw, and a new screw has since been placed, per Schefter. James is now running without any pain, allowing him to get back on the field after the Chargers complete their Week 12 bye.

The 17th overall pick in the 2018 draft, James entered the NFL with high expectations and quickly surpassed them. The now-23-year-old started all 16 games for Los Angeles during his rookie campaign, posting three interceptions, 13 passes defensed, and 3.5 sacks during that time. Pro Football Focus graded James as the league’s seventh-best safety, while he also garnered a first-team All-Pro nod.

With James and fellow safeties Adrian Phillips and Nasir Adderley on IR, the Chargers have primarily deployed Rayshawn Jenkins and undrafted rookie Roderic Teamer (who is also now injured) in the back end. So far, the results have been lackluster: after finishing 8th in defensive DVOA in 2018, Los Angeles now ranks 26th in the same metric, while the club has fallen from 10th in pass defense DVOA to 23rd.

Sitting at 4-5, the Chargers are on the outside looking in to the AFC playoff race, and FiveThirtyEight.com gives them only a 14% chance of earning a postseason berth. They’ll play the Raiders and Chiefs without James in tow, then face the Broncos, Jaguars, Vikings, Raiders, and Chiefs once James returns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/5/19

Today’s practice squad moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

  • Signed: OL Brandon Hitner

Baltimore Ravens

  • Signed: DE Michael Onuoha

Cincinnati Bengals

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Signed: DB Tevaughn Campbell

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Signed: DE Quinton Bell

Tennessee Titans

  • Signed: WR Rashard Davis

Could Chargers Relocate To London?

The 2019 four-game London series has come to an end, and it was by all accounts a smashing success. As Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic writes, television ratings and merchandise sales across the pond are on the rise, and the attendance figures and the energy of the crowds during this year’s series show that the UK may be ready to embrace American football on a full-time basis.

For a few years now, we have heard about the possibility of an NFL franchise permanently moving to London, and Bonsignore writes that the possibility of relocating the Chargers to London has been broached among league personnel. Further, Bonsignore says that while the Bolts are fully committed to moving to their brand new $4.5 billion stadium with the Rams in 2020, owner Dean Spanos would at least listen if the NFL wanted to discuss the possibility.

After all, the Chargers have not really been embraced in Los Angeles thanks to a crowded sports market and the presence of the Rams. And while some fans in San Diego have remained dedicated to the club, a large percentage cut ties completely when the team moved to LA, and it’s unknown how many will buy season tickets for the Chargers at their new venue. Per Bonsignore, owners are worried enough about the Chargers’ long-term viability in LA that they would provide necessary support to Spanos should he want to take his club to the UK. That includes transferring the $650MM relocation fee the Chargers still must pay for the LA move to a London relocation, as well as a potential realignment of divisions.

There are plenty of logistical hoops to jump through, but London does offer a legitimate, contemporary venue (Tottenham Hotspur Stadium), as well as the unique opportunity for the Chargers to develop a new, eager fanbase. If Spanos wants it, London could be there for the taking.

Other reporters, however, are skeptical that such a move is plausible. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk points out that Jaguars owner Shad Khan has secured a right of first refusal with respect to a London relocation, so he has to say he does not plan to take his team to London before anyone else can consider it. Further, Florio’s sources suggest that no one from the league has ever talked to Spanos about moving to London, which leads him to believe that the sources behind Bonsignore’s report are pushing some other agenda (like forcing the Jags to make a decision).

Bonsignore adamantly denied Florio’s speculation (via Twitter), but Jason Cole of Bleacher Report says that no one in the NFL has talked to the Chargers about moving to England (Twitter link). Coles concedes that the topic may have been broached among other league personnel, but his source says that the Bolts are definitely staying in the US.

Either way, it’s an interesting possibility to consider, especially since the NFL seems closer to having a permanent London team than it ever has.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Andy Dalton Eager To Be Traded In 2020

The fact that the Bengals decided to bench quarterback Andy Dalton right before last Tuesday’s trade deadline did not give Dalton’s agent enough time to find a trade partner, so the Red Rifle will remain with Cincinnati through the 2019 campaign and will serve as rookie Ryan Finley‘s clipboard holder.

Dalton expressed his disappointment with the team’s decision to demote him, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says the 32-year-old signal-caller is eager to be traded this offseason. 2020 is the last year of Dalton’s current contract — and Cincinnati can cut him without incurring any dead money penalties — but his $17.5MM salary next year is relatively palatable, and a number of QB-needy clubs could be interested in sending some draft capital to the Bengals to secure Dalton’s services.

Several GMs that La Canfora spoke with named the Buccaneers as a potential landing spot for Dalton. Indeed, Tampa Bay has plenty of talent at wide receiver and tight end and a strong enough O-line, and Dalton has proven that he can be successful with a solid grouping of talent around him. Plus, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians is not likely going to want to rebuild with a rookie QB, and trading for Dalton is looking like a better option than re-signing Jameis Winston at the moment.

The Titans and Bears may also be interested in Dalton, and depending on what Tom Brady and Philip Rivers decide to do, the Patriots and Chargers could end up as potential suitors as well. La Canfora’s sources say the Bengals should be able to net a 2020 second-round pick in exchange for their 2011 second-rounder.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.