2. Trai Turner’s cap hit is bad for the LA Chargers
This article is titled “three reasons to cut Trai Turner”, but there are actually 11.3 million reasons why. Turner is due $11.3 million on the final year of his deal in 2021. Is there any dead cap if the Chargers cut him? No.
Usually players with large salaries create some significant dead cap if they’re cut, but Turner has earned all of his guaranteed money. The Chargers can free up his total 2021 contract value without any penalty. A player who was ranked 79th out of 80 guards probably shouldn’t be getting the bag on this team anyway.
What can Tom Telesco do with a free $11.3 million? He could re-sign Hunter Henry with that cash or go out and get a premier interior lineman like Joe Thuney. There’s a lot of free agents he could get with that type of money. Adding that cash to the cap would boost the Chargers from $34 million available to $45.3 million based on the $185M projection.
The rebuttal to this might be that Turner could come back next year and return to form. Sure, anything is possible. I’m not willing to find out whether a return to form is possible after years of decline for a $10M+ price point. It’s smarter to sign a free agent guard or pursue a rookie contract lineman high in the draft.