The Chargers should discard Joey Bosa in favor of Khalil Mack

Los Angeles Chargers v Green Bay Packers
Los Angeles Chargers v Green Bay Packers / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

The NFL surprisingly rose the salary cap from $224.8 to $255.4 million, the largest year-to-year increase in the league's history. The NFL's massive revenue generated this dramatic cap boost. Therefore, many teams, including the LA Chargers, can now keep or re-sign expensive players.

After the salary limit adjustment and downgrading center Corey Linsley– who would retire in the coming weeks – to a minimum contract, the Chargers went from being $45 million over the cap to now being $25 million over it.

Therefore, head coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Joe Hortiz now have more flexibility to build a competitive roster, and keep veteran edge rushers Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa. However, should Bosa stay on the roster given his injury history and high salary? If they got to keep just one of them, who would it be?

Chargers should cut/trade away Joey Bosa over Khalil Mack in free agency

Joey Bosa has been one of the best Chargers players in the last years and a fan favorite. As a matter of fact, he won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2016 and is a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

However, he should be cut or traded away in the 2024 free agency period, as he has been injury-riddled over the two years. He has played on 14 of the last 34 regular season games, and he has struggled to stay healthy the entirety of his pro career.

The Chargers must be under the cap prior to March 13, when free agency starts. Although Khalil Mack has the higher cap hit – and several franchises have inquired about him, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler – the Chargers should keep Mack over Bosa. He has remained healthy since signing with LA and had a career-high 17 sacks last season. Though Bosa is undoubtedly an elite edge rusher, the Chargers can't afford having a hefty salary for someone who has scarcely played in recent years.

If let go, the Chargers should cut or trade Bosa after June 1st, as they would save in dead money and salary cap. Harbaugh and Hortiz would now have an additional $22 million to spend in a free agent edge or any other positions, given Tuli Tuipulotu's formidable rookie season.

Tuli Tuipulotu stepping in for Joey Bosa in 2024

The Chargers might be more comfortable letting Mack or Bosa go after Tuipulotu's great rookie season. Despite only recording 4.5 sacks, Tuli had 51 pressures and excelled in the run defense. He also had 8 tackles for loss and was selected alongside Texans' Will Anderson Jr. to the 2023 Pro Football Focus' All-Rookie Team.

Despite not being a full-season starter in 2023, Tuipulotu showed he is ready to be a starting defensive end as soon as next season. This brings some relief to the Chargers, as they won't have to invest heavily on a defensive end in free agency or via trade, or use one of this year's NFL Draft on an edge rusher.

The Chargers must part ways with at least two veterans by March 13 to be "cap-compliant". Although Mack is more likely to leave because of his massive salary, the Chargers should instead cut or trade Joey Bosa due to injury concerns. Finally, second-year player Tuli Tuipulotu is ready to step in as a starter, as he had a great 2023 season both rushing quarterbacks and defending the running game.

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