In the modern NFL, the most valuable asset a team can have is a star quarterback on his rookie deal. Quarterbacks drive so much of a team's ability to win, and when you have a player capable of driving winning at a high level, for a fraction of what he would cost on the open market, you need to be able to take advantage.
The Los Angeles Chargers appear to be in this exact situation at the moment. They seemingly hit big on Justin Herbert with the No. 6 overall pick last season. Herbert lit the turf aflame during his rookie year, completing 66.6 percent of his passes for 4,336 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He finished above league-average in nearly every rate statistic for quarterbacks as well, a rarity for a rookie.
The Chargers have Herbert under team control for at least four more years when you account for his fifth-year option, so they're moving aggressively to take advantage of the window created by his valuable contract. They began doing so last offseason when they brought in former Packers lineman Bryan Bulaga to play right tackle, and they've continued doing so this offseason -- both in free agency and the drive.
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L.A.'s big move of the offseason was signing another former Packers lineman in center Corey Linsley. He's a stud in the middle of the offensive line, and he'll help Herbert in setting the pass protection and being a protector himself. But the Chargers didn't stop there. They also brought in former Steelers lineman Matt Feiler, who can play guard and tackle, and they replaced Hunter Henry with Jared Cook, who can form a nice tandem with XFL pickup Donald Parham, who impressed down the stretch of the season.
In the draft, the Chargers managed to stay put and land two important pieces for Herbert's development: Northwestern offensive lineman Rashawn Slater and Tennessee wide receiver Josh Palmer.
Slater has incredible versatility and can potentially be a fit at guard, center, or tackle. The Chargers figure to give him a shot at protecting Herbert's blind side, but in the worst-case scenario, he can kick inside and be a very good player on the interior. In the span of two offseasons, the Chargers turned over their entire offensive line and made it a strength rather than a weakness, with Slater completing the overhaul.
Palmer has great size at 6-2, 210 pounds, and he can play on the perimeter along with Mike Williams, allowing Keenan Allen to operate from the slot, where he is at his best. Palmer isn't necessarily a burner, as he ran the 40 in 4.52 seconds, but he has excellent hands, having dropped only four passes in his college career. That makes him a strong fit with the team's receiving corps, and should help the Chargers take advantage of the opportunity they have while Herbert is on a cheap deal, and help them decide whether or not to pay him a much larger one when the time comes.