Overreaction #3: The Los Angeles Chargers would be better off next year if they cut Casey Hayward, Chris Harris, and Trai Turner
While the Los Angeles Chargers are one of the best teams in cap space next season, they are in that situation largely because they have many important players to re-sign.
If they want to re-sign those guys, particularly after improved play from Rayshawn Jenkins and Michael Davis, they may need to make some extra room in the offseason.
In recent weeks, many Chargers fans have been clamoring for the team to cut some of their aging players on the roster, particularly Casey Hayward, Chris Harris, and Trai Turner. Based on Spotrac, below is a breakdown of the savings the Chargers could have by cutting each player.
- Casey Hayward: $8.75 Million in 2021 cap savings with a hit of $2 Million
- Chris Harris: $7.5 Million in 2021 cap savings with a hit of $3.75 Million
- Trai Turner: $11.5 Million in 2021 cap savings with a hit of $0
All together, cutting each of these veteran players would result in a whopping $27.75 Million in cap savings. That money could be used to bring in fresh talent or keep developing talents such as the previously mentioned Rayshawn Jenkins and Michael Davis.
Certainly, the play of each has been lacking in 2020. Casey Hayward has looked like a player who shouldn’t even be a starter since Week 1 with poor performance after poor performance piling up. His plays against Calvin Ridley in Week 14 proved that he is not up to the task of following an opponent’s top receiver anymore.
While the play of Chris Harris has taken less of a hit than the play of Hayward, Harris is also aging and has faced a large number of injuries this year. Trai Turner has missed nearly the entire season, and he has not performed well when he was on the field.
So, should the Chargers cut bait with each of these players in the 2021 offseason?
It is important to first consider what the Chargers have or what they can get at each position as a replacement.
At corner, the Chargers have very little outside of what they could get in the draft. It will be nearly impossible to cut both Hayward and Harris while fielding a decent secondary. Of the two, I would prefer to keep Chris Harris, who is less reliant on physical tools as a physical slot corner.
While it may be difficult for the Chargers to find a free agent or drafted replacement for Turner as well, they have actually had a good performer in Cole Toner behind him all season.
Toner is a relatively unproven option, so it might be too early to predict that he will play better over the course of a year than Turner has, but I will take that chance when he is being paid far less money.
So, in sum, I would side with cutting Hayward and Turner but keeping Harris and hoping for a healthier season in 2021. Certainly, plenty of cap can be made by cutting any combination of these players, so it makes sense to do so in an offseason where the cap could shrink due to lost income.
Verdict #3: Slight overreaction (Cut two of the three)