Regardless of what the official number for the salary cap will be in 2021, the LA Chargers will be in good position. They got even better news on Wednesday when the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that the league’s salary cap drop might not be as bad as many thought it would be:
The NFL and NFLPA began preliminary negotiations last month on the 2021 salary cap, which some believe will end up higher than expected. It’s one of several key issues as the sides brace for another unusual offseason, with Super Bowl LV days away.https://t.co/PrdNKWIap5
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 4, 2021
For a few key reasons, the Chargers will be in a good position with their cap no matter where the actual number ends up. With Spotrac assuming a $175 million cap, the Chargers would have $24 million available. Should the number be $185M instead, the Chargers would have about $34 million to spend.
1. Justin Herbert’s rookie contract
It’s the most obvious reason that the Chargers are in a good position here. With Philip Rivers’ $21 million per year contract off the books, Justin Herbert will have just a $6 million cap hit in 2020. Rookie contracts make it easier to build a team and spend money elsewhere. We’ve seen this with Baltimore, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Kansas City’s Super Bowl victories over the last decade.
If the Chargers were paying Herbert about the same as Rivers’ 2015 contract extension, they’d have just eight million in available cap based on Spotrac’s current estimate. With Miami and Cincinnati also taking rookie quarterbacks in last year’s draft, they find themselves in similar optimal positions.
We have no idea how Herbert’s sophomore, junior, and senior years of his contract will play out on the field, but we do know that it’ll be very beneficial for the company payroll.