The Los Angeles Chargers proved in the 2021 NFL season that they have an exciting, young roster on their hands. Unfortunately, the team's defense still needs a lot of work this offseason.
The Chargers' surrendered 27.0 PPG last season — tied for third-worst in the NFL. It certainly didn't help that Los Angeles boasted one of the worst cornerback groups in the league, making the position a top priority for this year's free agency period.
Fortunately for Chargers fans, their team is expected to be one of the more active teams. The NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported Tuesday that fans should "keep an eye on the Chargers" when it concerns the top free-agent CB names.
The good news is that Los Angeles has more than enough money to upgrade the position, with Spotrac estimating the team's cap space to be around $57.3 million. Having said that, here's a look at three star cornerbacks that the Chargers need to target in free agency.
Chargers Free Agent Rumors
1. Stephon Gilmore
It'll be hard to find a cornerback with a more complete resumé than Stephon Gilmore. The 31-year-old veteran is not only a five-time Pro-Bowler, but he's also a former Super Bowl Champion and 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He's widely regarded as one of the top shutdown corners in the league, allowing quarterbacks to complete just 54.8% of passes while giving up only 3 touchdowns in his last 35 games. He looked solid when he returned from his quad injury last season with the Carolina Panthers, so his health shouldn't be a concern. At the end of the day, Gilmore is the type of addition that could legitimize Los Angeles' defense.
2. J.C. Jackson
J.C. Jackson is another top name that the Chargers should pursue this offseason. The former undrafted CB was one of the New England Patriots' top defenders last season. He led the entire NFL with 23 defended passes, tallying 8 interceptions and a career-high 58 tackles as well. Not only that but Jackson held opposing quarterbacks to a 49.1% completion percentage and 46.8 passer rating, further demonstrating his shutdown abilities. He'll likely be one of the more popular names this offseason, which is why the Chargers need to jump on him as soon as possible if the interest is there.
3. Carlton Davis
If the Chargers are looking for a younger option, look no further than Carlton Davis. The Super Bowl LV-winning CB just turned 25 back in December and is already better than most of his peers. Davis broke up 11 passes in 2021 and even intercepted one as well. He allowed a career-low three TDs on 70 targets, also holding QBs to an 83.2 passer rating. Where he really excels at is man coverage, which is the type of player the Chargers need if they want to shut down the NFL's top receivers. Considering how dangerous the AFC West became now that teams have to deal with Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson, Los Angeles would be wise to invest in a long-term option such as Davis.
Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.