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Free-Agent Setup: Los Angeles Chargers must make tough decisions

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The Sports Xchange
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Antonio Gates runs for a first down against the Baltimore Ravens on November 30, 2014 at M&T Bank Field in Baltimore, Maryland. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Antonio Gates runs for a first down against the Baltimore Ravens on November 30, 2014 at M&T Bank Field in Baltimore, Maryland. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

The Los Angeles Chargers have some interesting players hitting free agency, one of which will land in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But tight end Antonio Gates likely won't come back this year if he's looking for maximum money.

Tougher decisions lie with free safety Tre Boston and right guard Kenny Wiggins. Of the two, Boston is the most likely to get the franchise tag, but that seems to be a long shot. Boston did pace the team with five interceptions and started all but one game last year. Wiggins was among two Chargers linemen to start every game on a line that allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL (18). Left guard Matt Slauson is also eligible to sign elsewhere, although the Chargers will try to retain him.

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Unit-by-unit depth chart as of Super Bowl LII. Injured players listed as starters if that was their status when injured.

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*Asterisk indicates player ended 2017 season on injured reserve.

QUARTERBACKS (A): Starter - Philip Rivers. Backups - Kellen Clemens (UFA), Cardale Jones.

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RUNNING BACKS (B): Starter - Melvin Gordon. Backups - Austin Ekeler, Branden Oliver (UFA), FB Derek Watt, *Andre Williams (UFA), *Kenneth Farrow.

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TIGHT ENDS (B): Starter - *Hunter Henry. Backups - Antonio Gates (UFA), Sean McGrath, Jeff Cumberland (UFA), *Asante Cleveland.

WIDE RECEIVERS (A): Starters - Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams. Backups - Travis Benjamin, Mike Williams, Geremy Davis, *Isaiah Burse.

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OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (C): Starters - LT Russell Okung, LG *Matt Slauson (UFA), C Spencer Pulley, RT Kenny Wiggins, LT Joe Barksdale. Backups - G Dan Feeney, T *Forrest Lamp, T Sam Tevi, G/T Michael Schofield (UFA), G Brett Boyko, T Michael Ola (UFA), T *Chris Hairston (UFA, G *Donavon Clark.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (A): Starters - DLE Joey Bosa, NT Brandon Mebane, DT Corey Liuget (UFA), DRE Melvin Ingram. Backups - DE Tenny Palepoi, DE Isaac Rochell, NT Damion Square, DT Darius Philon, DE Chris McCain, DE Jerry Attaochu (UFA), *DT Kaleb Eulls, DE *Christopher Landrum.

LINEBACKERS (D): Starters -- WLB Denzel Perryman, ILB Hayes Pullard, SLB Kyle Emanuel. Backups - OLB Jatavis Brown, ILB Korey Toomer (UFA), ILB Nick Dzubnar, OLB *Mike Moore.

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DEFENSIVE BACKS (B): Starters - LCB Casey Hayward, RCB *Jason Verrett, SS Jahleel Addae, FS Tre Boston (UFA). Backups - CB Trevor Williams, CB Desmond King, CB Craig Mager, CB Michael Davis, SS Adrian Phillips (UFA), SS Rayshawn Jenkins.

SPECIAL TEAMS (F): K Nick Rose, K *Nate Novak (UFA), P Drew Kaser, KOR Desmond King, PR Travis Benjamin, LS Mike Windt. Addition: K Roberto Aguayo (signed as free agent).

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