The LA Chargers could be one of the teams poised to take advantage of a salary cap drop.
With significantly fewer fans expected to be at games in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the league is preparing itself for some revenue loss. The NFL has already begun the process of attempting to mitigate these losses, most recently by selling advertising spaces stadiums.
While that will stop some of the bleeding, it won’t make a real dent in the losses many in the league are projecting.
Some analysts see the cap going from its current figure of $198.2 million to potentially as low as $135-140 million if ticket revenues are lost. Let’s say the NFL saves some money by selling ads in stadiums and working on other revenue streams. You’d probably be looking at a smaller drop, but even a recession to $160 million or so would still be a big deal.
The LA Chargers, for a few key reasons, won’t be hit as hard by the coronavirus impacted salary cap as other teams might. They may actually stand to benefit from it in the next four or five years.
Reason #1: Justin Herbert’s rookie deal
There are quarterbacks around the league who are projected to have the brinks truck backed up for them. Patrick Mahomes could receive a deal that pays him as much as $50 million annually, while Dak Prescott and Deshaun Watson could easily make $40 million+ per year in their next contracts.
While fans may not be sold on Justin Herbert yet, his rookie contract has the potential to do wonders for this team. Paying a quarterback eight or nine million dollars over the next four to five years is huge, especially if the cap is hit hard. This allows the Chargers to take care of some of their key free agents, who we’ll get to a little bit later.
Think of some of the teams that have won Super Bowls recently. The Chiefs, Patriots, Eagles, Seahawks, Ravens, etc. One thing they all have in common is that they got a discount at the quarterback position.
In the case of the Chiefs, Seahawks, Eagles, and Ravens, they were all taking advantage of the contracts of their rookie quarterbacks. With the Patriots and their string of championships, Tom Brady took less than his market value for years so they could build the team around him.
With a salary cap that could drop as much as $40-60 million, it’s even more important to save money at the quarterback position than it normally would be. Herbert’s rookie contract gives the Chargers more financial flexibility than a lot of other teams will have.