Los Angeles Chargers left tackle Rashawn Slater will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a ruptured biceps tendon during the team’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, according to NFL Media. A second-team All-Pro in 2021, Slater’s loss is a significant blow to a Chargers team hoping to compete in a crowded AFC West division.
Analyst Mitchell Schwartz, one of the NFL’s elite edge protectors for nearly a decade, doesn’t think the Chargers have the adequate talent to replace a player of Slater’s caliber.
“Awful news for the Chargers,” Schwartz said. “They’ve been rebuilding their offensive line, and Slater was the focal point of that. He played close to an All-Pro level as a rookie and definitely at that level so far this year. They don’t even have their right tackle position solidified, so now to downgrade from an All-Pro caliber player to one who got replaced from last year’s group as a backup. That is as big of a downgrade as you can have.”
Analyst Joe Thomas, a former perennial All-Pro left tackle for the Browns, was also saddened to learn of Slater’s injury.
“Terrible news,” Thomas said. “All-Pro lineman getting hurt is devastating because of the drop in performance you get from the starter to your backup. Rashawn has played consistently among the top five tackles in the NFL. Losing him is an emotional drain for a team already mentally wrestling with a QB who’s banged up and unable to be at his best.”
The Chargers’ first game without Slater is Oct. 2 against the Houston Texans. Backup Storm Norton took Slater’s place at left tackle for the remainder of Sunday’s game, though Los Angeles could elect for an alternate option to protect injured quarterback Justin Herbert’s blind side for the remainder of the season.
“Storm Norton played left tackle and replaced Slater in Sunday’s game, but I would be hesitant to have Norton in the lineup for the rest of the season,” said T.J. McCreight, The 33rd Team’s head of pro scouting. “Zion Johnson was drafted in the first round this past draft and he could possibly be the answer. What I liked about Johnson was his versatility. This offense will need to get creative and protect the edges with tight ends and backs to give help to Slaters’ replacement.”