Chargers GM Tom Telesco explains 53-man roster moves

The Chargers general manager explains the moves the team made for their initial 53-man roster.

COSTA MESA, Calif. — Tuesday is Tom Telesco’s 11th cut-down day as the Chargers general manager, but there will be some tweaking between now and the roster that takes the field against the Miami Dolphins.

The team could see another player that fits their squad and try to add him to the roster. 

Here is what Telesco told the media on Tuesday after the down day:

Jaimes over Bailey

The Chargers kept nine offensive linemen on the roster, with eight names being easy to guess. It feels like it came down to Zack Bailey and Brenden Jaimes for the ninth spot.

Bailey is a former undrafted offensive lineman who has been on four teams before coming to the Chargers via claimed waivers last May. The team drafted Jaimes in the fifth round of the 2021 draft.

“Those two particular players play different positions,” Telesco said. “I don’t think that question applies, but Brenden’s done a nice job. He’s got a lot of flexibility in the offensive line. He’s been improving each year, and he played very, very well against San Francisco. But we think it’s a pretty deep group to start with, and hopefully, it stays that way throughout the year.”

Telesco said they want guys who can play multiple positions. Jaimes showed off his versatility playing center and guard. Bailey played at tackle and guard, so they must have much faith in Foster Sarell.

Also, Telesco and Co. hope that Jaimes develops the way former 2019 third-round pick Trey Pipkins did and eventually extends him. 

Two undrafted free agents

The Chargers have a history of undrafted players making an impact for them, from Antonio Gates to Malcolm Floyd to Austin Ekeler.

Well, this season, they kept, as of right now, two undrafted free agents in running back Elijah Dotson and AJ Finley.

Dotson flashed in the first preseason game against the LA Rams. He continued to impress with his running and receiving skills, but it is the more you can do, so Telesco was even impressed with his special teams play.

“He did everything you need to do, especially coming from where he came from, to make an impression on this football team,” Telesco said.

Finley was on the Chargers radar all offseason. Defensive coordinator Derek Ansley said his college tape stood out, and when they saw him play, it was consistent with what they knew about him.

The rookie out of Ole Miss could make an impact on special teams, but it wasn’t a surprise to Telesco that he made the team.

“He probably played at least half the snaps in the preseason, maybe even half the snaps on special teams,” Telesco said about Finley. “So we got a lot of work in preseason games, and he picked up things relatively quick. He’s got some versatility in the secondary and some special teams potential. So see how it plays out, but he’s done a really nice job.”

It is going to be tough to get on the field for both players unless it is on special teams, but the team believes they can make an impact.

“Hopefully, they have a career like Austin Ekeler has had,” Telesco said.

Dicker in; Hopkins out

There has been continuity yet again at the kicker position for the Chargers, the likes that haven’t been there since Nick Novak.

They chose second-year kicker Cameron Dicker instead of veteran Dustin Hopkins.

“We knew going into this season, we had two really high-quality NFL kickers,” Telesco said. “Especially the way we’ve been here, it has been hard to find one consistent ticker for a long period of time. It was a good problem to have. We knew whoever didn’t win the job was going to be working somewhere in the NFL this year.”

They traded Hopkins to the Cleveland Browns for a seventh-round draft pick in 2025.

Dicker was a consistent replacement for an injured Hopkins last season and continued during camp. Hopkins missed some time with an injury while Dicker continued to build off his 2022 momentum.

Guyton and Ogbonnia on PUP

The Chargers placed receiver Jalen Guyton and defensive lineman Otito Ogbonnia on the PUP list. That means neither can return for the first four weeks of the season.

Telesco was very hush on both and said they will evaluate their options when the four weeks are up. Guyton is recovering from a torn ACL, while Ogbonnia has a quad injury.