The Chargers have placed starting LT Rashawn Slater on injured reserve, and they will be turning to a rookie to fill the void. As Daniel Popper of The Athletic reported earlier this week, the Bolts will deploy 2022 sixth-rounder Jamaree Salyer on QB Justin Herbert‘s blind side for the team’s Week 4 matchup with the Texans (Twitter link).
It would have been fair to expect veteran Storm Norton, who started 15 games at right tackle for the Chargers in 2021 and who filled in at left tackle in Week 3 when Slater went down with a torn biceps tendon, to get the nod, at least for the next couple of games. That is especially true given that Salyer, who is listed at 6-3, has less than ideal height for an NFL tackle. Given his size, Salyer was originally drafted as a guard, though he does have long arms and acquitted himself well as a tackle against Aidan Hutchinson — this year’s No. 2 overall pick — in the College Football Playoff semifinals last year.
Salyer also has a higher ceiling than Norton, a 2017 UDFA who lost this summer’s training camp battle for the starting RT job to Trey Pipkins III. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes, the expectation is that Salyer will be a capable replacement for Slater. In the first three weeks of his pro career, Salyer has seen the field for 11 special teams snaps, so Sunday’s game will represent a trial by fire.
Herbert, of course, needs all the protection he can get. The passer is dealing with fractured rib cartilage, and while he came off the injury report on Friday, head coach Brandon Staley has confirmed that the injury will linger and will impact Herbert for some time. Luckily, starting center Corey Linsley — who exited the team’s Week 2 loss to the Chiefs due to a knee injury and who was inactive for the Week 3 loss to the Jaguars — is active for Sunday’s Houston contest.
RapSheet also passes along some good news with respect to Slater. Despite reports that the second-year pro would miss the remainder of the season, he may be able to return near the end of the campaign. If the Chargers are in the playoff hunt, Slater could suit up for one of the final two games of the season, or at least for the first game of the postseason if Los Angeles should qualify.
Cornerback J.C. Jackson, like Herbert, also came off the injury report on Friday.