The Chargers move to Los Angeles has not been a roaring success off the field, but on it the team has become a more consistent contender than it was during its final years in San Diego. The combination of veteran quarterback Phil Rivers with good skill position players and quality drafting on defense has made the Chargers a tricky prospect for a lot of teams.
In 2018 the Chargers were one of the best regular season teams in the AFC. They finished the year 12-4, tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for the best record in the conference. They traveled to Baltimore in the first round of the playoffs and won handily before falling to their old nemesis the New England Patriots, but the team look set to be a contender for years to come.
In Madden 19 the Chargers have an 81 overall rating that belies their strength somewhat. The offense gets an 83 rating, while the defense is their strongest unit with an 85 rating. This would suggest that their depth isn’t great, and that can be a real problem. In Madden 19’s Franchise Mode the Chargers still have a shot at Super Bowl LIII and some glory to bring fresh fans to their side. How can you improve the roster in Franchise Mode and lead this team to the Lombardi Trophy?
Los Angeles Chargers Salary Cap
If you start your Franchise Mode in the preseason, which you always should, then you will have a Chargers team that has 60 players on the roster and $42.5 million in cap space. This is a pretty healthy position to be in as your cap space will only grow when you cut down to the regular season limit of 53 players.
There are 20 players that can be cut without incurring a cap penalty at all and a further 7 players whose cap penalty is below $100k. While cap space isn’t a problem just yet you can save $2.9 million by releasing wide receiver Tyrell Williams a year early, but there is no need to do this unless your heart is set on making a splashy trade straight away. However, that is inadvisable as you will need plenty of cap space to re-sign some of your impending free agents.
Los Angeles Chargers Impending Free Agents
The Chargers have 24 players that are in the last year of their contract. Most can be let go and replaced very easily, but there are some who will need to be negotiated with and retained.
Cornerback Jason Verrett has had a career blighted by injury but he is a quality cornerback and in Madden 19 injuries are less troublesome. He’s worth re-signing, and if you aren’t keen on drafting another receiver then Tyrell Williams should be retained as well.
Cornerback Trevor Williams should be offered a new contract if your draft class does not look particularly good at corner, but veteran tight end Antonio gates should be allowed to leave. By no means should you re-sign everyone though. The Chargers are going to need to carry over a lot of cap space into season 2 as Phil Rivers, Joey Bosa, Melvin Gordon, and Hunter Henry all have just two years left on their contracts and are the core contributors of this team. Losing even one of them will be a massive blow to the overall quality of this team, so before you go making a big splash in season 1 free agency think about which of these guys you are willing to let walk after season 2.
Other key free agents: Brandon Mebane (DT), Adrian Phillips (SS), Donnie Jones (P), Michael Badgley (K), Denzel Perryman (MLB)
Los Angeles Chargers Roster Needs
The Chargers starting lineup is pretty solid across both offense and defense. On offense the most glaring hole is at right tackle, where Sam Tevi and his 66 OVR rating is currently starting. The left side of the offensive line isn’t great either. Russell Okung is ok at left tackle, but the left guard spot could use an upgrade too. Otherwise the offense is strong. If you like to use a lot of spread formations then you will want to add another wide receiver, but otherwise you can leave the offense alone for season 1, with perhaps the exception of finding a young quarterback prospect.
On defense the Chargers have two terrific pass rushers so there is no need to chase after a defensive end, but more depth at defensive tackle would be nice. The real need for the defense is talent at linebacker. Jatavis Brown is a solid outside linebacker, but Denzel Perryman can be improved on, as can Uchenna Nwosu. The lack of talent at linebacker can be a real problem when defending the run and shutting down passes over the middle. Improving that area will be vital to taking the next step forward as a team.
In the secondary the Chargers are strong, but with their #3 and #4 corners coming up to free agency you may want to find another option in the draft sooner rather than later.
This team is one of the best in Madden 19 from a playability standpoint, especially if you make improvements to the offensive line. They will be a contender for a Super Bowl in Franchise Mode for as long as Phil Rivers is around, but once he retires, it will be on you to find a suitable replacement otherwise the team could easily fall back into mediocrity.