How much money do the Los Angeles Chargers have to play with in 2018 free agency?
Official cap space for each NFL franchise has been released.
The Chargers currently have $22.3 million in cap space, 20th-most in the league, per OverTheCap.com. As for the rest of the AFC West, the Denver Broncos have $23 million (19th), the Oakland Raiders have $17.4 million (22nd) and the Kansas City Chiefs have -$3.3 million (30th). The winless Cleveland Browns lead the way with $108.7 million, and the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles rank last with -$11.2 million.
According to NFL.com, the league increased the total amount of cap space from $167 million to $177.2 million, which marks the fifth straight year it increased by at least $10 million.
Where does that leave the Chargers in terms of spending? It’s not a lot, but it gives them room to re-sign key contributors (check out all of our articles in the “Free Agency” section), as well as make a splash or two. I say this because aside from free safety Tre Boston, who’s an unrestricted free agent, the Chargers have no big-name free agents hitting the market. Two of their better players (WR Tyrell Williams and DE Chris McCain) are restricted free agents and will be much easier to retain (if tendered) at a lower cost. Also, the Chargers will likely make some cuts/restructures. But don’t forget, money has to be allocated for 2019 draft picks, which is usually around $5-7 million.
Last year, left tackle Russell Okung was general manager Tom Telesco’s big signing. Okung signed a four-year, $53 million deal with $25 million in guarantees. There’s an out after the second year should the Chargers decide he isn’t worth keeping. However, Okung, who made the Pro Bowl, was the Chargers’ best lineman. He helped the unit turn things around in a big way. The only other outside free agents the team signed were running back Kenjon Barner and Boston, with the latter signing a one-year deal with the Chargers after the Carolina Panthers cut him just days after the draft ended. Barner was released prior to the regular season.
Again, don’t expect Telesco to go all out. He doesn’t have the money some of the other teams have, and it’s just not his style. Remember, he signed cornerback Casey Hayward to a three-year, $15.3 million contract. You know, the best cornerback in the league? Yeah, Telesco got him for a bargain.
And quite frankly, he doesn’t need to go all out because there aren’t a ton of holes on this team. This roster is already talented, and adding even more talent through the draft is the way to go.