Travis Benjamin, Wide receiver
2018 cap number: $7.0 million
Travis Benjamin was one of the Chargers’ prized free-agent signings prior to the 2016 season, but he’s never quite lived up to the 2015 season with the Cleveland Browns that allowed him to get that contract.
That year, he caught 68 passes for 966 yards and five touchdowns. In two full seasons with the Chargers, he’s caught just 81 passes.
While he hasn’t been terrible, he’s been far from stellar. He’s been a big-play threat for the team and has shown the ability to make a play on special teams throughout his career, but cutting him in a move the Chargers can afford to make, particularly if they believe Mike Williams is the guy they hoped he was when they drafted him in the first round last year.
Benjamin offers explosiveness and the kind of speed few players possess, but he’s expendable and the Chargers would be able to contend without him.
Joe Barksdale, Offensive lineman
2018 cap number: $5.7 million
This is a cut the Chargers pretty much have to make, right?
Joe Barksdale carries a relatively high cap number into 2018, particularly for a marginal player. The Chargers would give up $2 million in dead money but that would drop to $1 million if they keep him on the roster until June 1.
In a recent interview with Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times, Barksdale revealed he had suicidal thoughts last season based on multiple issues. That has to make it tough to be an effective football player.
The Chargers shouldn’t release him because of that, but because he seems to be a man who needs to get his life in order so that he’s able to place a full focus on the field. If he’s interested in continuing his football career in Los Angeles, maybe he’d be willing to take a big cut in pay.
Whether that’s the case or not, the Chargers should be looking to draft a young offensive tackle in one of the early rounds in late April.