Possible Post-June 1 Moves by The San Diego Chargers

Sep 30, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Javier Arenas (21) tackles San Diego Chargers wide receiver Eddie Royals (11) in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. San Diego won the game 37-20. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, BoltFam, as already mentioned here on BoltBeat we´re now entering the “second” period of free agency which should be fun again due to some post-June 1 moves.

Just a quick reminder why the June 1 designation is such an interesting thing: 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 are able to spread the cap hit from releasing that player over the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

It seems the Bolts got less than $200,000 cap space available in 2013, but they will gain $4.5 million in cap space on June 2, as Jared Gaither´s release came with a June 1 designation. By the way, here is an number that shows how awfully we´ve been robbed by Big Lazy last season: Gaither was on the field for only 243 offensive snaps in 2012, which means he earned about $37,000 for each snap…ugh! If it makes you feel any better; he´s still unsigned.

Whatever, part of that available money will be used on the first-round pick D.J. Fluker, who will have a first-year cap number of about $2,070,000 once he signs his rookie contract.

So, in order to be able to pick-up a solid free agent in the next few days or weeks, we have to get rid of an “expendable warrior”. In a previous piece I´ve discussed possible candidates to be cut from roster.
Just a quick summary: Fan favorite Jeromey Clary is set to be a $5.7 million cap hit this season; his release would create $3.4 million in dead money (which could be spread over the next 2 years). Eddie Royal is set to be a $4.5 million cap hit when kept on the roster; cutting him would create $3 million in dead money. Set to be a $3 million cap hit, LeRon McClain will be one of the highest paid fullbacks in the league next season; McClain´s release would cause over $1.6 million in dead money. As a guy of the “old system”, Charlie Whitehurst could be expendable as well (as we got seventh round pick Brad Sorensen and undrafted rookie Mike Hermann on the roster too); he would be a $500,000 impact when cut from the roster.

But the question now is, are we even in need of an upgrade at a specific position?

Well, I don´t want to make a too big deal out of it, but let´s just take a quick look on what had been reported days ago about the Chargers´ first round pick. ESPN´s Bill Williamson said that he thinks D.J. Fluker will be “a Pro Bowler at right guard” but “will struggle some at right tackle”. Well, one could say this is only his opinion, but there had been talks about something like that already before draft. So, if it becomes apparent in training camp that Fluker is much better at right guard than at right tackle, shouldn´t we think about that option to plug him in at the interior of the offensive line? I personally don´t like that thought, but if he´s most effective at that position, then maybe this is worth a consideration. Furthermore, Williams “thinks (Max) Starks, who has played right tackle, can be successful on the right side, and that Dunlap can be a suitable short-term answer at left tackle.” But what to do with Jeromey Clary in that situation? Answer: cut him.

Would you feel comfortable with King Dunlap as blind side protector for Philip Rivers? Or would it be wiser to put Max Starks and King Dunlap in competition at left tackle and pick up a right tackle in free agency?

Well, Eric Winston and Winston Justice are still available. Eric Winston, 29, would be an immediate upgrade at the right tackle position of the Bolts´ offensive line. He’s a good zone-blocking lineman and is capable of playing guard too. Weeks ago, the former Kansas City Chief was asking for $3 to $4 million per year. Guess he already lowered his price tag. Winston Justice, 28, surely would come in much cheaper; he was a $1.5 million cap hit for the Indianapolis Colts. Just like Eric Winston he visited the Chargers some time ago.

But after all, it may be way too early to run that “D.J. Fluker might be better at right guard than right tackle” talk, so let´s move on here.

If D.J. Fluker does well at right tackle but Jeromey Clary still gets cut (cap hit!) then how are the Chargers set up at the interior of the offensive line?

We got Johnnie Troutman, who missed his entire rookie season due to injuries (pectoral muscle and knee issues). On day two of this year´s free agency, Tom Telesco brought in Chad Rinehart from the Buffalo Bills. The former backup for Andy Levitre played only seven games last year (starting only two). The second addition at guard this free agency had been Rich Ohrnberger who was on the field for only 18 games over the last three seasons (starting only four). All of those guys ended the season on injured reserve. It´s fair to mention that King Dunlap can be moved inside too and David Molk, backup of Nick Hardwick at center, took about 10 snaps at guard last year.

Looking at the injury-proneness of that player personnel makes me wanna put out my hands in free agency.

Speaking of injury-prone players – we already took a closer look at the cornerback situation yesterday. Shareece Wright and Derek Cox are set to be the starters for 2013. Last year Wright suffered an ankle sprain in the season opener and wasn´t able to return until week 9. Cox has missed 17 games over the past three seasons and 14 over the last two. If they go down again, then this year´s fifth round selection Steve Williams and free agent pick-up Johnny Patrick, who was on the field for only 218 snaps last season, would be the next in line. Tom Telesco also brought in some undrafted free agents, but those who´ll make the final roster probably will have to prove themselves on special teams first.

So, BoltFam, what do you think about all that positions? Should Tom Telesco cut an expendable guy and pick up a right tackle, guard or cornerback in free agency? Is there another roster spot we should consider here or do you think we´re set up just right for next season? Once again, feel free to share your thoughts with the Bolt family.

Thank you for checking out this piece!

BoltnRoll!

Topics: San Diego Chargers

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  • Cgoodness13

    Tricky question, have fluker as a pure mawler at RG or have faith in him at RT and hope he develops into a nfl starter like most rookies do (they also struggle first couple weeks in camp so I’m not tripping). But i think we should deffinetly explore around and see who we can sign for competition for fluker or maybe even SS, we have 2 injury prone starters at CB who are pretty talented, but I’d feel more comfortable if we had gilchrist in the mix. I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing if bob sanders wants another go, couple years off maybe he’s less injury prone? And he could mentor Taylor.

    • NativeSanDiegan

      Good points CG. Think we definitely look at E. Winston or someone released June 1 at RT for Insurance. Also need competition for Ryan, a better, cheaper backup qb, maybe insurance at ILB and also db”s.

      • MC Boltman

        Yeh, a RB would be very cool, really would like that; but I don´t think we´ve the cap space for that. Guess they trust Woodhead as “lead back” when #24 goes down – hopefully Michael Hill will contribute too.

    • MC Boltman

      Yes, actually it´s sad we´ve to talk about a RT insurance, but when looking at last season, one can never be save enough to protect our “mobile” QB. The cornerback depth situation scares me…guess someone will come in (wishful thinking).

  • Cgoodness13

    Btw did some research on gilchrist, he averaged 25.something returning KRs in college, cut royal!!!!!

    • boltingindiego

      i would rather have gil strictly play def less chance of injury and resign spur for return duties.

      • MC Boltman

        Ahh I like how Spurlock gets some love from the Bolt family lately – yeh Spur could come in cheap…def. a possibility.

    • MC Boltman

      Cool, nice to know. But Keenan Allen is a good returner too…and of course we got Goodman too. And I like “boltingindiego”´s comment: Spurlock is still available…guess he´s worth a consideration

  • FitzWilly

    I say stay
    I’m willing to bet we have one or two diamonds in the rough from the undrafted rookies
    after a month or two of evaluation, then start looking if it doesn’t work out
    Gotta give these coaches a chance to work their magic :)

    • NativeSanDiegan

      Possibly 3-5 diamonds, or at least solid contributors on O & D (meaning not “just” ST

    • MC Boltman

      Yes, some of them seem to be very promising…but IDK if anyone of them can be seen as legit starters right away…but hey gotta stay positive – I know that corner Marcus Cromartie wants to prove something – maybe he´ll surprise us…would be fine with me :)

  • Travis

    Since when is Clary a fan favorite? If that is sarcasm, excuse me for not catching it, but Clary has been the Chargers worst lineman for years now. Can’t wait for them to get rid of that guy.

    • boltingindiego

      of course the dielman jab was sarcasm. dude was a matador playin rt.

    • Stefanie Smith

      I think the Boltman was conveying that Clary was a fan favorite to get the boot.

      • MC Boltman

        haha…actually it was pure sarcasm, but that would be a nice story behind that phrase too..lol

        • Alter Ego

          That story would probably bite you in the end. I do wonder if Clary turns out to be awesome this year(while in a better position and offense for him) if his very opinionated negative fans ( who really have zero idea of his value to SD – everyone is just guessing) will support him as a brilliant move and overall O line improvement. TT and Whiz seem to know what they got and what they want. I’m gonna go with that – can’t bring myself to call for a guy’s head when the team annoints him as our best starter at his spot. I just believe they know more than me.

    • MC Boltman

      Yeh sure it was sarcasm…but yeh sorry, I´ve to admit after the last “praises” for the RG Clary, it´s not that easy anymore to figure out it´s sarcasm, as the right guard Clary seems to be not that unpopular as the right tackle Clary…but yes it was sarcasm – it would be cool if we´d find a better and cheaper solution than #66

    • Alter Ego

      Clary is at least a BoltBeat poll fan favorite. Majority voted to keep him above other options. He has definetly not been our worst lineman for years now – not even on last years team. Your stirring up crazy Travis – this is how the masses get misled. Fact is he was the 14th BEST RT in the NFL last year – 32 teams..hmmm. The O line as a unit graded out at 28th. He will be an even better guard this year. I’m not particularly a Clary fan except to say he is much better and does much more and has done more than he gets credit for. Cutting Clary would be stupid.

      • NativeSanDiegan

        As in my other post about Fluker, if you insist on statistics, your source had Clary ranked very low in 2011 (don’t remember exactly but either in 50′s or 150′s). They also had our o-line ranked at bottom. Why? Did Clary suddenly improve last year into top 15? No. The fact (which anyone with clear eyes saw), is the left side of our line was so poor and porous that pass rushers on that side made a bee line for PR and got there first. With help from Vasquez on the right side plus the fact that most speed rushers come from the left side, Harris and what’s-his-face took all of the statistical blame for the sacks, hits, & hurries, thus ascribing the miraculous statistical improvement to Clary.
        I can see it clear as a bell now. Just took some digging into your “respected statistical source” and then putting 2 and 2 together. If I remember correctly, your source never stated that Clary was the 15th best OT; it only provided the skewed statistics which could easily be misconstrued if you didn’t actually watch Clary being a turnstile AND pushover for the last 5 years or so.
        MYSTERY SOLVED!!!!!

        • Alter Ego

          Yeah-thats garbage Native. Stats are stats – he is #14. You don’t like him – fine, I like him more than the other options. Apparently so does the team.

          • NativeSanDiegan

            It’s okay to agree to disagree. I was only using your stats source to explain why everyone connected with football agrees that he’s a lousy RT. But I do like his work ethic, his not being on the news for some” alleged” crime, and his role model fo;r the younger and even older guys. Like others on this site have said, we’ve seen him year after yr giving up crucial sacks and hurries that cost us games. Hopefully he’ll do better as a guard. With a more athletic LG pulling I’m hopeful he and Fluker solidify the running game, thus improving the passing game. Clary also manages to stay on the field-durability. Wish he didn’cost so much but that’s not his fault. Here’s hoping for a better season for our Chargers.

          • Alter Ego

            All in all, Clary will have a bunch to prove – no chance of slipping under the radar . He is going to have to stomp on people every game. It is expected.
            Lets just ignore the Gaither comment.

          • NativeSanDiegan

            I meant Fluker; fixed it. Glad you had the sense to ignore it. Had Geathers on my mind as NT. Mixed my apples (bad one) with my oranges

  • Stefanie Smith

    We’re already talking that Derek Cox is injury-prone. He got a multi-year deal that pays pretty well. Let’s hope he is not always getting hurt. That is a TT selection.

    • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

      That injury question seems to be a lot of our players… “If _____ doesn’t get injured, he can be awesome….”

      So tired of that story. Either we stop bringing these players on OR some miracle of them not being injury prone happens

      • MC Boltman

        Yes, as much as I liked TT´s strategy in FA, but this is something that scared me a bit right from the start – Rinehart, Ohrnberger, Cox, Whittaker…all effin injury-prone – but whatever I´m still confident … btw that could be the main reason why they want Clary on the team…healthy and good work ethic..we´ll see.

      • Stefanie Smith

        Ernie: It’s weird. All over the NFL, they are becoming more injury prone and in OTAs ! Arian Foster cannot participate and walking around in crutches. Romo, our Ingram.etc. The list goes on. There are 2012 rookies out there that have played maybe 2 games, if the team was lucky and got injured. DeCastro lasted about 2 games and out for the season.

  • Robert Weisfeld

    I would cut mecham before royal

    • boltingindiego

      difference on how it will affect the cap is why that isn’t an option.

    • Gunnar Martin

      At least give the guy a little respect and spell his name right! haha

      • MC Boltman

        Yes – agreed…his name is Ronald Mechum – take the time and spell it right! :)

        • Alter Ego

          Meech has talent -always had. I was suprised at how dismal his impact was for us as a team. It would be fantastic if he could shine as the player that Norv/AJ believed he was – he owes us a good effort – he is part of SDs failure last year. This year he is playing on TT’s dime.

          • NativeSanDiegan

            He’s always had straight line speed but hands of concrete. I was overjoyed when the Saints drafted him a few picks before us, only to have AJ draft Buster (the bust) Davis. Meachem has a tantalizing effect on a team and then drops 8 out of 10. A great Al Davis pick.

    • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

      But Meachem release wouldn’t save any money on the salary cap.

      • NativeSanDiegan

        I still think we can trade with Cleveland (Norv), Wash (AJ), possibly SF or someone who needs deep speed to stretch the field and not necessarily catch the ball, or someone later on that needs injury replacement for a 6 or 7 rd pick. If traded, wouldn’t that help cap?

        • MC Boltman

          Actually not – when it comes down to signing bonuses and guaranteed money, then trading is nothing better than waiving..i.e. the new team is not responsible for any of the original signing bonus.
          The team that waived or traded the player is responsible for the
          accelerated signing bonus. So we´re pretty much stuck with Meachem :( – But you know, I think he actually will be able to contribute this time (he´s a $6.8 million cap hit – he´ll better!)

          • NativeSanDiegan

            Thanks MCB. I was really asking because I didn’t know. Thanks for the info. Darn!!! But we might at least get a 7rd. pick if someone is desperate enough.

    • MC Boltman

      Well, his release would create over $10.6 million in dead money..ugh! *not good* I guess we´ll have to wait til next year to see him walking out that door..

  • joerockt

    All this talk about Fluker moving to guard is complete bullshit. They drafted the guy in the first round to play tackle and that’s what he going to do.

    • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

      Agree that he will be here to play tackle… But not so sure that his struggles with speed rushers is that much BS. Had struggles in college with the same thing

      • joerockt

        Well, I guess we’ll know when his first test will be JJ Watt on Monday Night lol. That might get ugly unfortunately.

    • MC Boltman

      Yes, actually I don´t want to think about that right guard thing too much – but you know, it´s also interesting to figure out “what if” (as it could be a possibility)…but I want to see him doing a great job at right tackle – as Ernie said, he probably will have his probs with speed rushers, but maybe he´ll be able to fix that as the season(s) go(es) on.

  • Gunnar Martin

    Oh, this is gonna get complicated. Let’s just let TT figure this one out and give our puny little brains a rest. We know he’s gonna get us the best possible result, considering what he’s done already with this crippled organization. At least that makes me feel good inside.

    • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

      Haha… But if we didn’t give our opinions, this site wouldn’t exist. :)

      • Gunnar Martin

        Haha yeah true dat

      • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

        We think. Therefore, we ARE!

    • MC Boltman

      Lol ok give your brain a rest – guess we´ll have some time to think about it…or maybe not, who knows, things can happen fast – but in the end I really trust our new Chargers brass…something is happening here, and thats cool!

  • Alter Ego

    We will know soon enough…June 1st is just hours away. I think the Bolts will let the dust settle and see what happens with the league. They have a competitive training camp ahead – they will field the best 53 – the upside of TTs handywork looks great in every direction.

    • NativeSanDiegan

      I agree, seems TT’s style to let the dust settle and then move. Thought he did sign Rinehart and Smith very quickly and quietly, very shrewd. I am quite certain he will try to improve the quality of the depth and create more competition.

  • OP Bolt

    A couple of random thoughts:

    - regarding Williamson story – I’m confused. If you assume Fluker is a failure at RT (which I don’t), and If Dunlap was not “good enough” to start at LT and you brought in Starks as an upgrade at LT, why in the world would you now believe that moving Starks to RT and starting Dunlap at LT is the way to go? Why not put Dunlap at RT? This whole story seems to me to be a journalist dropping chum in the water.

    - why did the staff move Clary to RG in the first place? We know he had a terrible year at RT last year. We know about the cap issue. We know TT brought in 2 journeymen OGs as soon as he got here and we had Troutman coming back. Again, why did they have Clary assume the reps with the first team – before any competition? Didn’t they have to have had some degree of confidence in his ability there? Did they feel there had already been so much churn on the OL, they needed to keep him for continuity? Seems curious to me.

    - I’m with you regarding concern about injuries across the board. I would love for guys like Mathews, Brown, Wittaker, Allen, et. al., to bring their best game to camp to really provide competition, so we don’t have to accept someone because they are the last man standing. It would also allow us to make good decisions balancing potential vs. cap.

    • MC Boltman

      Look, I don´t think Fluker is a failure at RT…it´s ESPN´s Williamson (and some others already before the draft) that said that Fluker may be a better guard than right tackle – but I DON´T like that – i hope he´s good enought to play right tackle…if not, then he definitely can´t be viewed as good 1st round draft pick…it´s just what had been reported, and I just thought about a possible solution, IF it really becomes apparent in training camp that Fluker is a much better guard than tackle…and cutting Clary and signing Winston Justice or Eric Winston could be a possibility…but again I WANT Fluker to be great right tackle and I want him to play there.

      And I don´t like that thought of Dunlap at the left side and Starks at the right…it´s what Williamson suggested, that´s why i put that sentence quotation marks. And the reason why he said that – I guess – is because Starks is pretty good at run blocking and he´s “not the fastest” anymore…Dunlap is little bit more mobile – I GUESS that´s the reason why HE said that – I don´t suggest this. If Fluker really isn´t the guy for RT – I HATE the thought – then I´d rather suggest cut Clary and sign a decent RT in FA.
      After all, I´m confident our new Chargers brass will know what to do, no matter how difficult the situation may be…

      • OP Bolt

        Sorry, MC. Poor sentence structure by me. What I meant and should have written is, “…if Williamson thinks Fluker will fail at RT…”. I was really trying (poorly) to question his reasoning, not yours.

        • MC Boltman

          Ah..alright..no prob :)

        • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

          I did the same thing to MC yesterday! Too funny. I rarely am commenting to the author. If so, I wouldn’t be vague about it… hahahaha.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Great comments, OP Bolt! I am with you on the RT situation. First of all, I think Fluker is our starting RT. Second of all, why the heck would Williamson, or anybody else, suggest putting Starks there, over Dunlap? If we sign a free agent RT, that would be a major head scratcher for me. We have Fluker (a first round draft pick), Clary (assuming he doesn’t get cut), Dunlap, and Starks, Not to mention, there is a possibility that someone like Harris could play RT in a pinch. If that isn’t depth, I don’t know what is. Also, I have said it before… if I was possibly going to be forced to cut Clary after June 1st over salary cap issues… I would want to make sure what I was cutting, JUST in case he is worth keeping. That might be the reason they are doing that. The other reason would be that they are just sold on keeping him there.. which would puzzle me, as there hasn’t even been any open competition yet, and Clary was not good at RT. (as you pointed out). As for injuries… this is football. They are a part of the business. AJ had a bad habit of bringing in guys like Bob Sanders, when our cap situation was fine. Telesco is forced to find talented players for a “stripped down” team, with $10 in his wallet. His hand may be forced when it comes to injury concerns. Otherwise, you get a bunch of average players that just stay on the field. Most of the talented AND durable players aren’t going anywhere.. lol. Once again, great comments. I was thinking the same thing.

  • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

    I think Fluker will be fine at right tackle. Play him throughout camp & preseason. If he looks completely overwhelmed, make sure that Dunlap gets some snaps at RT as well. If they both look awful during training camp at the position, then maybe pull the LT switch with Starks & Dunlap. Since Clary won’t be cut, according to most folks.. that would be 4 guys who can potentially play right tackle on your roster. If none of them are good.. Oh boy… PR is going to have major issues again. Also, I would be sort of pissed if we sign a FA right tackle. We should use that money, and try to get CB depth, and / or a safety. If a decent safety becomes available, then CG13 is right.. you get Gilchrist back, and you fix your safety position. If you just get a CB… what do you do with Gilly or the new guy when Taylor comes back? Not that any of these guys are a sure thing at their positions, but I am assuming Taylor is in their plans? On another note, I am not in favor of bringing Bob Sanders back.. hahahaha… sorry CG13. Why we didn’t get Vaccaro in the first round is still beyond me. That is one of few complaints I have of the new regime. Oh, yeah… and I think you can cut all of the aforementioned “Expendable Warriors”. None of them are going to help us that much this year.

    • MC Boltman

      Yeh, I surely would be pissed too if would´ve to seriously think about picking up another tackle, because Fluker can´t play the position…or to say it in a positive way: because he can play guard better than tackle. I see Fluker as RT and thats it. Well, it seems Clary stays on the roster…but actually no one knows what will happen…but as I said already days ago, it would be kind of strange if they cut him, after all that praise (…but $5.7 mlllion?…ugh!). And yeh CB depth is needed.

      • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

        IMO.. Gilchrist should be our CB depth. They need to sign a friggin safety already! I’m so over the fact that they have failed to address a position that we are literally putting newbies in to try and fill. Weddle deserves better.

  • arnie

    i like the article MC, great piece. however, you left out one key to this whole cenerio. Mike Harris. if Fluker moved inside to guard, and Clary got the axe, you could quite possibly see Harris move up into the RT role. Dunlap and Starks are best on the left side for depth. I’ve said this a thousand times, Mike Harris played RT his entire career at UCLA. and he was good at it. the only reason he was at LT last season, they needed somebody to stand over there. An Harris was the most experienced with the protection schemes.

    • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

      it would be nice to get Harris some time at his natural position.. if fluker does have to move inside, then it could be a chance for Harris to make a push. I will be watching how Harris does in the preseason for sure.

  • Alexander Leithoff

    It should be noted that Eric Winston is one of the few RTs in the league who has been able to shut down von Miller.

    • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

      and that is a good note

  • shoedog143

    I like everything they have done for that line so far, while still filling in other pieces. It would be nice to get Winston though…I’m worried about the corners but feel that they really can’t be worse than last year….Really pissed at the Shaun Phillips comments stating that The Chargers treated Jammer like “Trash”. What a douche! Never a big Phillips fan, but I don’t know too many Chargers fans or anyone in the front office who had ever really treated Jammer poorly.

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