2023 Chargers Cuts: How likely Keenan Allen, Khalil Mack and more are to be cut
Based on the official 2023 cap number of $224.8 million, the Chargers will enter the new league year about $23 million over that figure. Point blank, Tom Telesco will have to make some moves to achieve cap compliancy.
Restructures of Corey Linsley and Joey Bosa's contracts are definite possibilities as ways to obtain cap space. But more work will still be required after that. If the Chargers push the money down the road on both contracts this year, they'd save $21 million. That's a start, but it still leaves them $2-3 million in the hole.
Some cuts will be necessary to get the roster to where Telesco wants it to be prior to free agency. The Athletic's Daniel Popper has listed six possible cap casualties in his new 2023 Chargers' offseason playbook article. Khalil Mack, Keenan Allen, Michael Davis, Matt Feiler, Corey Linsley, and Gerald Everett were the players named in making financial sense for the Chargers to release.
Let's go one by one, evaluating the reasoning and percentage chance that each of those six Chargers is actually off of the roster by March.
The percentage chance of each Chargers cut candidate actually being cut:
EDGE Khalil Mack
This one is about as close to a zero percent chance as odds could possibly be. Tom Telesco and Brandon Staley traded for him last year to complement Joey Bosa in their EDGE ideal tandem. He's a Staley guy on this defense through and through plus the team restructured his contract as soon as he was traded.
Technically, none of these six players can be placed at zero percent simply because of the money involved. With Mack, the Chargers could save $18.4 million now by releasing him. A post-June 1st designation would save them $22.9 million.
Mack had 56 pressures this season, virtually identical to his last peak Bears' season in 2020 where he totaled 57 pressures. He led the team with eight sacks and both his pressure and sack numbers are higher if Joey Bosa was more available throughout the season.
The Chargers don't have an on roster replacement to take the reigns from Mack, even if they wanted to save a lot of money. After hiring Kellen Moore and needing to re-work the offense, they probably don't invest their early draft capital in an EDGE player either.
While there were questions about Mack's health as he missed 10 games during his final Chicago season, he played all 17 games in 2022. In three of Mack's last four seasons, he's played every regular season game.
If Mack is injured or regresses during the 2023 season, it wouldn't be crazy to talk about cutting him next year with $23 million potentially available to the Chargers then. But right now, he's still in his prime even if at the tail end of it. If this defense is going to improve from being ranked 20th in the league next year, both Mack and Bosa need to be on the field.