Chargers pick up 5th year option on Rashawn Slater’s contract

COSTA MESA — The Chargers said Monday they picked up the fifth year option on offensive lineman Rashawn Slater’s contract, which means, as Coach Jim Harbaugh said the other day, he’s “locked in” at left tackle for at least the next two seasons. It also means he’ll get a massive raise for 2025.

Slater’s base salary jumps from a little less than $3 million for the upcoming season to more than $19 million for the 2025 season, according to figures compiled by the website Slater was a Pro Bowl selection as a rookie after he was picked in the first round in 2021.

But he didn’t earn a repeat invitation in the next three seasons.

The Chargers’ move also means first-round draft pick Joe Alt from Notre Dame will likely compete with Trey Pipkins III for the starting right tackle position at training camp. Or, more likely, Pipkins will remain entrenched at right tackle and Alt will play the swing role, filling in for Slater and Pipkins.

It’s also possible Pipkins will make way for Alt at right tackle and shift over to right guard. Pipkins started all 17 games last season, playing opposite Slater, who also started all 17 games in the 2023 season after he was limited to only three games because of a ruptured biceps tendon.

“I think history will tell you guys are just unwilling to do it,” Chargers offensive line coach Andy Devlin said of shifting sides. “It just takes reps. It’s just a matter of rep after rep, and this (offseason training periods) is the time to do it. … It’s just, really, muscle memory to flip over from one side to the other.”


Nick Hardwick said he was feeling a bit bored while at home in Indiana after retiring after spending 11 seasons as the Chargers’ center. So, one day, he walked onto the campus of his nearby high school and offered his services as a volunteer coach of the team’s offensive linemen.

The response wasn’t exactly what he expected.

“They told me, no, at first,” Hardwick said, laughing at the memory. “I had to coach youth football – second and fourth graders for two years before I was allowed to coach at the high school. I had to earn my way in.”

Eventually, he worked his way up the food chain before he realized he could be getting paid by an NFL team instead of working for free for the high school, breaking down film until well past midnight. So, he put out a few feelers until Harbaugh reached out to him with an unexpected phone call one night.

“Coach Harbaugh calls and you say, yes, it’s what you do,” said Hardwick, who accepted the job as assistant offensive line coach without hesitation, without consulting his family. “You only get so many chances to get back in the game. … For me, it was the chance of a lifetime.”


J.K. Dobbins said he understood why others might say he was an injury-prone running back because, let’s face it, he sure seemed to be injury prone over the past three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. After all, he was limited to nine games over three seasons because of knee and Achilles injuries.

When he’s been healthy, he’s been very productive, averaging 5.8 yards per carry during his career. Staying on the field since a standout rookie season in 2020 has proven to be difficult, first because of a knee injury that sidelined him for all of 2021 and then for all but eight games in 2022.

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Next, he ruptured his Achilles in Week 1 last season and was sidelined for the remainder of 2023. Dobbins pronounced himself 100 percent Monday, but acknowledged the Chargers’ medical staff still must give him full clearance before he’s fit to play in the 2024 season.

“People around the league were like, ‘OK, it’s a high risk, high reward type of thing,’” Dobbins said of going through free agency last month. “Not even high risk. It’s a low risk. It’s a business. I got hurt last year, so not as much money needs to be thrown my way. But I think everyone around the league knows that whenever I am on the field, the numbers don’t lie. A lot of teams were, like, ‘We’re going to give you this, but we need you to be healthy.’ When I am healthy, it’s going to be great.”

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