The Expendable Warriors Meet The June 1 Designation

November 11, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Eddie Royal (11) catches the ball as he falls to the ground during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the San Diego Chargers 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

So, May is coming to an end and we´re entering the “second” period of free agency which maybe could become interesting again due to some possible “post June 1 cuts”.

The NFL breaks up its salary cap accounting for bonuses into two periods with June 1 being the trigger date. When a player is cut from the roster prior to June 1st, all his remaining unamortized bonus money immediately accelerates onto the salary cap. After June 1st, teams got the chance to spread the “dead money” impact over the following years salary cap.

As we already know, Jared Gaither´s release came with a June 1 designation; this means, after June 1, the Chargers see immediate cap savings of about $4.5 million.

This leads me to the main topic of this piece: Could we see Tom Telesco cutting players from the roster in the next few weeks in order to free up some cap room maybe for being able to add some depth at another position? Do we even have guys on the roster that are expendable?

Well, in the last weeks there had been quite a few talks about getting rid of certain players. We´ve talked about the possibility to kick Jeromey Clary out of town. But in a poll I´ve posted last week here on BoltBeat, most of the fans (surprisingly) voted for keeping him on the roster and letting him play at right guard. As I mentioned a couple of times, he is set to be a $5.7 million cap hit in 2013. His release would create $3.4 million in dead money. Just like for Big Lazy´s release, also this impact could be spread over the next two years.

Besides Jeromey Clary, one of the first names to be mentioned when talking about cutting players, is Eddie Royal.

Last offseason, Eddie Royal was brought onto the roster by our former General Manager A.J. Smith (…oh how we miss him…Bazinga!). But to be honest, I actually liked the move a lot. After “the lord of no rings” let Vincent Jackson walk away in free agency, he needed to address the wide receiver position; and he did that by signing the former Bronco as well as Robert Meachem (from the New Orleans Saints).

Royal was expected to have a breakout season in 2012. There also had been multiple reports that he might fill the hole that Darren Sproles has left on the roster. He had an outstanding rookie season in 2008, hauling in 980 yards receiving on 91 catches for five touchdowns. But injuries and below average quarterbacks slowed him down in his last seasons before he signed with the Chargers. Unfortunately he couldn´t stop this trend in San Diego. And now that Keenan Allen is on the roster, Royal´s time in Bolt town could be over as they share pretty much the “same” skill set; the biggest difference between the two receiver/kick returner threats might be that Keenan Allen is coming off a successful season – something Royal didn´t have in years. But one thing has to be considered though: the rookie is recovering from a knee injury. But he obviously is making progress as he already reported that the knee feels great and he participated in all drills in this year´s mini camp. So, does a healthy Keenan Allen make Eddie Royal expendable? Seems like that´s the case – by the way: cutting Royal would create $3 million in dead money.

Now let´s move on to the next name on the list of potential expendable warriors on the Chargers roster: fullback Le’Ron McClain. Well, McClain had great success in his early NFL years when he played for the Baltimore Ravens. He has made it to the Pro-Bowl twice and he also earned two All-Pro honors. This might have been the reason for A.J. Smith to sign him to a 3-year, $8.25 million dollar deal last offseason. But when considering his performances on the field last year, I´m not convinced he´s worth that amount of money. He was solid in pass blocking…but that´s it. I could not see him creating enough running lanes for the Chargers´ lead back Ryan Mathews. And of course he couldn´t add something to the rushing game either; 42 yards on 14 attempts…wow! (needless to say he also couldn´t score any touchdowns) Compared to his 902 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns in 2008, these 2012 stats sound awfully lame. But whatever, we already know the Chargers´ rushing game as a whole had been nothing but crappy (O-Line issues, injuries etc. – we all know that stuff by now).

But what´s very interesting to know about McClain, is that he is entering the 2013 season as the second highest paid fullback in the NFL. Well, based on the information above, do we think he´s worth that $3 million cap hit in 2013? Will he get better in the new blocking scheme, which probably will be some kind of hybrid version of power and zone blocking? Is he fast enough for a ZBS? I´m afraid the answer to all of those questions is simply: No.

Tom Telesco picked up Gronk´s older brother, Chris Gronkowski, about a month ago. We will see if he is able to outplay McClain in training camp and in the preseason games this year. But I´m not too sure if he can make it anywhere else than onto the special teams. He only played 40 snaps on offense last year in Denver; doesn´t sound too good – but hope dies last (as they say). In case the former Bronco is able to make an impact this offseason, McClain´s release would cause over $1.6 million in dead money.

Last but not least I want to mention backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst here.
A.J. Smith selected Whitehurst in the third round of the 2006 NFL draft. In 2010, the Seattle Seahawks signed him to a two-year, $8 million contract. But as he wasn´t able to impress anyone in Seattle, A.J. brought him back in March last year to once again back up Philip Rivers. He´s a $1.8 million cap hit in 2013 and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2014. So, it may not be a big priority to replace Whitehurst as No. 1 backup option this offseason, but as he is a “Norv guy,” he´s definitely expendable in the new system. As Tom Telesco selected signal caller Brad Sorensen from Southern Utah in the seventh round of the draft and picked up undrafted free agent Mike Hermann from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Division III), we now have four quarterbacks on the roster. Both of those guys have great potential, but after all we have to wait and see how they are doing in training camp (and the preseason games). The release of Charlie Whitehurst, however, would create only $500,000 in dead money; but I guess he won´t go anywhere.

In the end, I wouldn´t mind if at least one of those guys will get cut from the roster, in order to free up some cap space for a depth addition at cornerback (or safety, if Marcus Gilchrist won´t make the transition to the last line of the defense). And if that news about the “struggling right tackle D.J. Fluker” can be trusted, then we might have to think about getting in another tackle too (by the way: Eric Winston and Winston Justice are still available).

BoltFam what do you think will happen after (or on) June 1? Will we see one of those players getting cut from the roster? Which one do you wish should be shown the door? Or do you think we´re set up just fine for the upcoming season? You´re invited to share your thoughts and opinion in the comments section below.

Thank you for checking out this piece.


Topics: San Diego Chargers

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  • tubbs45

    Man it is a really tough call, without knowing who is getting the majority of reps. I’ve heard that royal is getting both 1st and 2nd team reps, which to me mean he might escape that hatchet after all. Royal and McCoy do have a history… Le’Ron might be the first of several on the way out…

    MCB thanks for keeping us thinking!

    • Peter Thompson

      No doubt.. great article = )

      • MC Boltman

        Thanx very much Pete! We´ll see what June brings…

    • MC Boltman

      No prob tubbs..I thank you! Well, McClain surely was a little bit misused maybe, but depending on how Gronkowski is doing in training camp, LeRon could be shown the door – although I´m not too sure bout that, but its a possibility.

  • Cgoodness13

    How can people blame both norv and McClain? I saw McClain go out for a pass once (think it was a out or drag or something) catch it, turn up and drive someone back 5 yards and getting the 1st down. His job is to block linebackers on run plays but he was force to help out clary or green every play. He was hardly used by norv so I say keep him.

    • shayaaa

      I say cut and re-sign at cheaper if possible. You can argue he was misused but at $3M, there are only two FB making more than he is. After that its Michael Robinson of the Seahawks making $1.5M (half McClains salary).

    • MC Boltman

      I agree he was misused too (I wanted to mention that in the article, but I had end this thing at some point before it gets much too long..). But $3 million is damn much money for a fullback who did not do his job that well. We´ll see, I don´t “hate” him but he gets overpaid IMO.

  • Peter Thompson

    Not to Boltbeat a dead horse… but, Clary lost that poll. The choices were:

    I´d cut Jeromey Clary and go on with the guys that are on
    the roster – 38 votes

    I´d do nothing at this point and wait ’til a solid guard
    becomes a FA – 33 votes

    I´d cut Jeromey Clary and sign
    former New York Jet Brandon Moore – 28 votes

    I´d keep Jeromey Clary on the roster and let him play right
    guard – 85 votes

    By my count, that’s 99 to 85 in favor of Clary being replaced. Having said that, it could have been worse for him, I suppose.

    • shayaaa

      Technically doing nothing at this point would mean keeping Clary so more like 118 to 66 (in favor of keeping him).

      • Peter Thompson

        I was thinking that too. But, I figured waiting until a “solid free agent” became available meant eventually replacing him with someone better… just not Brandon Moore? Little bit tricky.

        • shayaaa

          Do you happen to know if there is a difference of cutting someone now vs closer to the start of season. Would it free up any more/less money or would it be the same?

          • Peter Thompson

            From what I have read, cutting him after June 1st gets us more money. Cutting him now means less.

          • Peter Thompson

            If you mean after June 1st… But closer to the regular season… I THINK it would be the same. That would be sweet though. Just let players sit there and appreciate in value!!! LOL…

        • MC Boltman

          Ouch..sorry, shayaaa already posted the same comment as I just did…but again, you´re right its a little bit tricky :) But if the Acee report can be trusted that Fluker has trouble playing at right tackle, then Telesco might have to look out for another solution on the right side…and this could mean bye-bye Clary?..We´ll see

          • Peter Thompson

            No worries. Its kind of speculative. I just figured that if people were willing to explore free agency for a better guard, that isn’t exactly a vote of confidence in Clary… But you are both right. It doesn’t technically mean cutting him. Hey, if we do get a more solid guard, we can keep Clary as the most expensive back up in history!!! Lol.

          • MC Boltman

            Lol…would fit nice into the history books somewhere behind the Ryan Leaf story…ugh! :)

    • tubbs45

      Had to be done… Come on June 1st, lets get this over with!!!

    • MC Boltman

      Well, one could also say that its more like 119 to 66 in favor of Clary because its not that of a sure thing that a solid guard becomes a FA. This also means they would be fine to go on with Clary at right guard. But of course its also possible to see it your way…if we really wanted to figure it out, we would have to ask those 33 guys who voted for “I´d do nothing at this point…”

      • Peter Thompson

        I’m gonna get all political….. Throw it out… RE-POLL!!!!! HAHAHA..

        • MC Boltman

          LOL…well as this is no democracy, I´ll let our King TT decide what to do…:)

  • Gunnar Martin

    Tell me if I’m wrong but I think someone’s obsessed with The Big Bang Theory ;)

    • MC Boltman

      haha…who do think is this? I don´t know what you´re talkin about … LOL – Well “That 70ies show” is dead…so I have to go on with the “nerds” :)

  • OP Bolt

    The reports of Fluker having difficulty adjusting are troubling but difficult to evaluate. Too hard to tell if the report (only one source as far as I know) is true, whether this is a college to pro issue, whether this is correctable with coaching/repetitions, or whether it truly is a fast twitch deficiency. In any case, what the heck do you do if you need to move Fluker to RG, but Clary actually is the best RG in camp? If he is no better than any of the others, I suspect he is released, but if he is better, do you keep him to help stabilize the line?

    • MC Boltman

      Well, if Clary really is that much of a stud at right guard – which can be highly doubted, because nobody really seen him playing that position in a game…- but if thats really the case, then it could be wise to keep him to stabilize the line. But on the other hand, he´s $5.7 million cap hit – I think some else with more experience at that position could do that too.

      By the way: Brandon Moore…the best guard available at this point – was a $4.6 million cap hit for the Jets last year. At the age of 33 he´d never get that amount of money again…especially not in the first year. Cutting Clary would create $3.4 million in dead money, but after June 1 we could spread that impact over the next two years. Brandon Moore or another guy would be much cheaper than $5.7 million…we´ll see

  • Rob Base

    Lets play spin the wheel and it lands on CUT CLARY!

    • MC Boltman

      Hey, new avi…cool! Ok, lets play the game :)

      • Rob Base

        Thanks bro. I wanted to put this one up but I couldn’t get it to work.

        • Ernie Padaon

          that one would have been sick!

        • MC Boltman

          haha..nice! Never seen this pic :) but its cool!

  • NativeSanDiegan

    Aloha MCB, It seems you are using the term “dead money” to mean available money FREED FROM our cap limit. Generally “dead money” means money that COUNTS AGAINST our cap limit that’s being used by players no longer on our team. Hence thet term “dead”. You may want to consider the term “frees up money”. Hang LOOSE Young Bolt, you’re doing a find job.

    • MC Boltman

      ha thanks! Yeah, but if they get cut, then this amount of money counts against the cap…so I´m talkin about money that counts against the cap -> dead money – after June 1 this money can be spread over the next years – I´m not talkin about money we would save!

      • NativeSanDiegan

        Got ya. You might have included how much cap space each player would free up. Just focusing on how much dead money a move would create just doesn’t seem like a viable topic for an article IMO.

        • MC Boltman

          Well, basically I put two numbers into the article – example with Clary: $5.7 million cap hit when on the roster – $3.4 million cap hit when cut (dead money). The difference ($2.3 million) is what we save. And I focused on the dead money because with that article I wanted to point out that this dead money can be spread over the next 2 years, when the respective player is cut after June 1. If he´s cut before June 1 then this money counts solely against the 2013 salary cap. It´s about the “june 1 designation”.
          But thanx for your reply…the dead money maybe not that interesting, you´re right.

          • NativeSanDiegan

            Nice attempt at a spin job, but you didn’t include 2 numbers with all of your players. Now don’t’ be hasty young Bolter. (Hope you saw” The Two Towers in Lord of the Rings). No need to get defensive; you and I are probably the only ones reading this anyway. Let’s start with Clary. He’ll be a 5.7 mil cap hit & create 3.4mil in dead $. You go on to say that, like with Gaither, it could be spread over 2 years. If that’s the case, the 3.4 mil spread over 2 years means only 1.7 mil of dead $ this year. Subtract that from his 5.7 mil cap hit and we’re left with an extra 4 mil available this year if we cut him after June 1. That’s a pretty convoluted method; I think you even confused yourself in there somewhere. We can forget the convoluted train ride with Eddie Royal because you say he will be 3 mil dead $ if we cut him, but you don’t take that train to spreading over 2 years will be 1.5 mil in dead $ this year. Unfortunately we can’t ride that convoluted train to see how much cap space it will free up this year because, unlike with Clary you didn’t give us the all-important cap hit if he is on the roster, so we have no starting point to determine our cap $ available this year if we cut him. The only information you gave is his dead $ against the cap. That is what lead me to surmise that you only cared about the dead $. Just for fun, let’s look at Clipboard Charlie. To speed up your convoluted process so we can actually see how much more cap space we’ll have if cut after June 1, I’ll expedite the process.Why you say his release will only cause $500k in dead $, I don’t quite follow. Let’s see: You said the point of your article was to compare the dead $ created by cutting now vs June 1. But it won’t change in Charlie’s case because he’s only signed through this season. If we look at McClain you don’t really explain how his 3yr, 8.25mil is broken down and how it’s a 3mil cap hit this yr., nor how much is dead $.& how much more cap space will we have if we cut him (now vs June 1. We won’t cut Charlie until at least the first exhibition game (unless we sign another qb) because we need camp arms. Now I’ve got it. Nobody really talks about the dead money much. After all, it doesn’t directly affect us as fans nor does it directly affect the team. It really only directly affects our billionaire owners and league. I think your main message of the difference in cap space between cutting now or spreading over 2 years after June 1 may have gotten lost in the shuffle. But enough for now; let’s move on.

  • Boltfanaz

    Cut ALL of them !!! Even Whitehurst (If Rivers goes down, the season is lost anyway – save the cap hit and give the young guns a shot).

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