Chargers Rumors: J.C. Jackson, Stephon Gilmore Emerge as Legitimate Free Agency Options

The Los Angeles Chargers are preparing the Brinks trucks for their offseason spending spree in free agency. At least, that is the expectation in LA with their massive amount of cap space available this time around.

The Chargers missed the playoffs by the slightest of margins after losing a Week 18 game to the Las Vegas Raiders. Nonetheless, this team is ready to compete and make an AFC title run. Head coach Brandon Staley lives and breathes defense, and general manager Tom Telesco has one final shot at making some noise before he gets let go.

This offseason is as vital as ever for the Chargers, and it appears they are targeting two players with New England Patriots ties to shore up the defense.

Reports surface that the Chargers are linked to both J.C. Jackson and Stephon Gilmore when free agency begins

Mike Garofolo and Ian Rapoport got the Chargers fan base pumped up after dropping that report during the NFL Combine.

The Patriots decided not to use the franchise tag on Pro Bowl cornerback J.C. Jackson, and he is set to hit the open market as one of the top defensive players available.

The other target, according to those reports, is Stephon Gilmore. The Patriots traded Gilmore to the Carolina Panthers, and the veteran proved that he still has quite a bit left in the tank.

The most interesting part of this report is Garofolo says the Chargers can add Gilmore and Jackson. So, there is a scenario where both guys move to LA. That would be quite something.

The Chargers desperately need to add corners and shore up the defense after a rough season

Telesco and Staley have stressed the importance of adding weapons for star quarterback Justin Herbert. Both guys have also emphasized the need for improvements on defense, which is obvious.

The offense ranked in the top-5 in a few categories (points scored, passing yards, and yards per game). On the other hand, the defense was 29th in points allowed, 20th in sacks, and 22nd in interceptions.

Thus, the need for help on defense is glaring, and Staley said so himself (h/t Daniel Popper of The Athletic).

“On defense, up front and then in the secondary are going to be some areas that we look at. The goal of this offseason for us is to become a complete team and a deep team. Those two words you’re going to hear me say a lot.”

Chargers HC Brandon Staley

So, according to Staley, the defense will be a huge priority when the season begins. After all, he was the defensive coordinator for the Rams before taking the Chargers job, and he was fantastic at that.

If the Chargers can add some talent on defense, they will be even more dangerous in 2022.

Both Jackson and Gilmore make sense for LA, especially after Staley’s interesting comments regarding the CB position

The Chargers are swinging for the fences.
Brandon Staley, Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson | Keith Birmingham/ Mark Brown/ Fred Kfoury III/ MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images/ Getty Images/ Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We shouldn’t be surprised at all that Staley is targeting defense hard. The offense has a ton of weapons, including wide receiver Mike Williams, who is a candidate for the franchise tag.

Focus on defense they will, and both Jackson and Gilmore make a ton of sense. Michael Davis did a decent job in 2022, but he isn’t a CB1. Asante Samuel Jr. impressed as a rookie, and he provides flexibility for the defense in various ways.

Staley had another interesting comment regarding the cornerback position, which hinted at the Chargers’ desire for free agency.

“Corner is definitely going to be something that we’re looking at. We’re always going to be looking at it as long as I’m the head coach.”

Brandon Staley

Well, that sounds promising. The Chargers have also been linked to Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward and even safety Tyrann Mathieu.

A defensive overhaul could be in the works in 2022 after the Chargers invested heavily in the offensive line last offseason. If they add one or both of Jackson and Gilmore, the Chargers could enter the year as one of the favorites in the AFC.

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