Looking Forward At The Chargers Offseason

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Dec 8, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers inside linebacker Donald Butler (56) returns an interception past New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) during the first quarter of the game at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Chargers cap situation for the 2014 season doesn’t look pretty at first glance. We are right up against the cap already and that is after losing players in free agency.

The Chargers still will have players like Robert Meachem and Jared Gaither on the books for almost $7M of wasted cap space. They would have wasted a roster space on this team anyway.

There definitely will be ways to free up some space in the cap though. Eric Weddle and Philip Rivers are eating up a big chunk of that cap space. The Chargers are not going to get rid of either of those guys, but both guys would likely restructure their deals in order to make some room. Rivers did it before this season and could do it again to keep a few of his players around.

Another player the Chargers should look to restructure is Jeromey Clary. Can’t believe how much of an asset he has been this season. His contract is stupid, but he has been good at guard and his versatility to go out to right tackle has been huge this season. He is physical in the run game and has quickly changed his reputation around. He is not worth the $6M+ on that salary cap though and the Chargers can save over $4M by releasing him. We should keep the guy around, but not at that price.

Another player that is in the same situation is Eddie Royal. Royal costs $6M on the salary cap and would be tough to keep on the roster at that price. I can’t see him on the roster unless we change that deal around somehow.

The Chargers can save $1.5M by releasing Larry English, so that should happen. He has proved nothing in his time here. Thomas Keiser already has shown that he can take that role on defense.

Cutting LeRon McClain would save the Chargers $2.5M on the salary cap, so he likely is on his way out. The Chargers could sign another cheap fullback or use John Phillips in that role. It is not a role that we use that often on offense anyway.

Derek Cox was a mistake signing and has to be dropped off of the roster. He would save the team some dough as well.

Finally, the Chargers may need to decide which outside linebacker they want to keep. Dwight Freeney might make it easier by retiring, but having Jarret Johnson and Freeney on the roster with Melvin Ingram already there. I would love to keep all 3 and keep a rotation going at that position, but the Chargers might decide otherwise. All three have had injury issues this season and keeping all 3 might be the best for our defense.

In the end, these Chargers should not be on the roster unless they restructure their deal: Jeromey Clary, Eddie Royal, Larry English, Derek Cox, LeRon McClain.That should free up around $15M under the cap and would give the team something to work with. I bet that something happens with Freeney or Johnson as well and that could get us around $18M under the cap.