The Chargers have little cap space dedicated to players in 2021. Does the organization have a two-year plan?
The Chargers are committed to winning a Super Bowl this year, and have built one of the most complete and competitive rosters in the NFL. However, depending on the success of this season and the next, everything could change quickly. Is the team planning on a complete organizational overhaul?
Let’s build a team with the players that are under contract in 2021:
- QB: Easton Stick
- RB: Jeremy Cox
- WR: Mike Williams, Jason Moore, Trevion Thompson
- TE: Daniel Helm
- OL: LT Trey Pipkins, LG Koda Martin, C Scott Quessenberry, RG Chris Brown, RT Blake Camper
- IDL: Jerry Tillery, Justin Jones
- DE: Chris Peace
- LB: Uchenna Nwosu, Drue Tranquill, Kyzir White, Emeke Egblue
- CB: Casey Hayward, Kemon Hall
- S: Derwin James, Nasir Adderley
Not exactly a team that strikes fear in the hearts of opponents.
The Chargers have signed players to contracts that reflect this two-year plan. Denzel Perryman, Thomas Davis, Tyrod Taylor, and Brandon Mebane were only brought back or signed to the team under two-year contracts.
No outside free agents were signed to a longer deal. Though some wanted Earl Thomas or C.J. Mosley, their contract expectations did not fit in with Telesco’s plan, which does appear to give the Chargers as much cap space as possible to either move on with the core of their current roster or have a complete depth chart overhaul. This season, the Chargers have $187.6 million allocated towards 90 players (a number that will decrease with cuts). 2021 has just $35.9 million in cap space dedicated to just 34 players.
The Chargers will not be forced to re-sign many of their star players following the 2019 season, either. Other than Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon, the Chargers don’t have much pressure to retain their free agents next year. Mike Pouncey is also a candidate to be re-signed, but the team will likely wait to see how his second year with the team goes as he approaches age 31. Hunter Henry will have to show he is worth retaining (he is) following a lost 2018 campaign.
The team would be looking to potentially be without 15-20 of their current starters this season by the time 2021 rolls around. What will they do then? Telesco has decisions to make on a mega-contract for Joey Bosa or extending “older” veterans like Keenan Allen. The success of this season may dictate what faces are on the roster in a few years. Go far in the playoffs, and it’s likely much of the current squad is retained; fall short, and maybe he decides to take the franchise in a different direction.
Two more important tidbits to remember for 2021: Anthony Lynn’s contract with the Chargers will be up, and some college player named Trevor Lawrence will be draft-eligible. Both are incredibly important for Chargers fans to watch moving forward.
Considering his history of retaining and rewarding his own players, Telesco is unlikely to show every player he’s drafted or signed the door. But, the option is there. This season couldn’t be more exciting for the Chargers organization, but it’s worth noting that the entire franchise could change dramatically in just two years.