Keeping Jahleel Addae provides versatility in secondary for Chargers

SAN DIEGO -- Under general manager Tom Telesco, the focus for the Chargers has always been to draft, develop and retain their core players.

So it’s somewhat expected that the Los Angeles Chargers wish to keep hard-working safety Jahleel Addae around. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Chargers are expected to retain Addae on a four-year deal, per a league source.

Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan in 2013, Addae started out as a special-teams player and worked his way into a starting role for the Chargers.

Addae started 27 games in four seasons, totaling 201 career tackles, three sacks and one interception.

One factor working in Addae’s favor is versatility. At 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds, Addae has the speed and range to play center fielder at free safety and also has the physicality as a run defender playing close to the line of scrimmage.

“I like him when I see him play,” Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley recently said about Addae. “Here’s a guy who understands his fits in the box. He’s aggressive, makes plays and has very good instincts.”

Chargers defensive backs coach Ron Milus trains his safeties to be interchangeable, allowing Addae to blossom in both roles.

Milus has a good relationship with Addae and trusts what he will get from the former Central Michigan standout in terms of effort and production. But with 16 games missed in four seasons, Addae has to figure out a way to stay on the field.

The signing of Addae doesn’t mean the Chargers will not draft a safety in the first round. They still lack a playmaker in the back end.

Dwight Lowery was solid in his first season with the team, but is 31 years old and likely is not the long-term answer at free safety.

So don’t discount the Chargers still looking in the draft for a game-changer at safety such as LSU’s Jamal Adams, Ohio State’s Malik Hooker or Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers.