Chargers bring back veteran WR Inman

The Chargers and free-agent wide receiver Dontrelle Inman are headed toward a reunion.

Inman plans to sign with the Chargers, a source confirmed to the Southern California News Group on Tuesday. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport was first to report Inman’s return.

Inman, 30, had his best years with the Chargers from 2014 to 2017. His best statistical season was in 2016 when he recorded 58 receptions for 810 yards and four touchdowns.

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers played a big part in why the sought-after free agent decided to return. Inman and Rivers have texted often the past couple days, according to the source.

Inman reportedly had a visit with the Detroit Lions and a contract offer from the New York Jets.

Inman was released by the New England Patriots on Sunday. He reportedly requested his release. The Patriots had a logjam at the receiver position after Josh Gordon was reinstated by the league. Inman spent the 2018 season with the Indianapolis Colts, recording 28 catches for 304 yards and three touchdowns. The Chargers’ interest in the six-year veteran comes as a surprise, considering the team’s depth at wide receiver. They’re led by the trio of Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin.

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Wide receivers Artavis Scott and Andre Patton are also in the mix to make the Chargers’ 53-man roster. The Chargers are high on the two fringe players, but they were hoping one would separate from the pack during training camp. Patton helped his case by scoring a 24-yard touchdown in Sunday’s preseason game against the New Orleans Saints.

Adding Inman could be an insurance move with Allen hobbled by an ankle injury. Allen is also nursing a right knee injury, but ESPN reported that he is expected to be available for the regular-season opener against the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 8. Allen, however, did participate in Tuesday’s light practice.

Inman’s ability to play as a slot receiver might have caught the attention of the Chargers. Williams, the team’s No. 2 wideout, is a big-body receiver best utilized on the outside, and Benjamin also excels on the outside with his speed. Now, the Chargers and Rivers have another proven veteran to move the chains from the slot position along with Allen, the Chargers’ most versatile receiver.

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