Chargers can now keep Khalil Mack on the roster with these moves

Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers
Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

The new regime leading the way for the LA Chargers had a tough decision to make in the first offseason on the job. With the Chargers so far above the salary cap, and Khalil Mack having the largest cap hit on the team, new GM Joe Hortiz was stepping into a situation where a tough decision had to be made.

On paper, it made all the sense in the world to trade Mack. Mack's great 2023 season increased his trade value and the Chargers have to not only get under the salary cap, but create enough room for the incoming draft class and any free agents. It is a hard move to make, but the right moves aren't always the easiest.

All that being said, the Chargers have received massive help from the NFL. Next year's salary cap is $13 million higher than expected, checking in at $255.4 million. With this added help, the Chargers now have the means to create the necessary space without having to part ways with Mack.

Moves the Chargers can make to keep Khalil Mack on the roster:

Cut Corey Linsley after June 1

This move is definitely going to happen after the Chargers restructured Linsley's contract. The Chargers made the move knowing that Linsley is going to retire this summer, and after June 1, the team can free up an additional $2.6 million in cap space.

Cut/trade Mike Williams

It is going to be hard to find a trade partner for Mike Williams considering he is coming off a torn ACL and is hitting 30 years old in 2024. That being said, the amount of money saved is the same, so the Chargers can accomplish the same feat by cutting him.

As impactful as Williams has been, it is time for the Chargers to move on and free up over $20 million in salary-cap space. The newfound cap space may have saved Mack when it comes to his future on the Chargers, but it will not save Williams.

Cut Eric Kendricks

Eric Kendricks is the other obvious cut candidate for the Chargers and there will be no trade market to speak of for the veteran linebacker. The Chargers will have to take their medicine and cut Kendricks to create extra cap space.

Kendricks should have never been signed and all of this could have been avoided if the Chargers just re-signed Drue Tranquill. But alas, the previous regime decided to overspend on an over-the-hill veteran.

Extend Keenan Allen

Yes, Keenan Allen is on the wrong side of 30 but he proved that he can still be one of the best receivers in the sport last season. If Justin Herbert doesn't get hurt and the Chargers were still in contention then Allen probably would have played at least 16 games last season and would have set career highs in yards and receptions.

The Chargers can convert some of Allen's base salary into future bonuses, which gives the team flexibility in how much they want to save with Allen. In this specific example, we have the Chargers converting $13 million of Allen's $18.1 million base salary into future bonuses.

The extension will be two years for $25 million (a similar price that DeAndre Hopkins signed for last offseason), all guaranteed. Allen's cap hit will be $19 million for the two new seasons, which is still cheap considering how much the cap continues to grow.

After all of this, the Chargers would have just over $15 million in cap space, according to Over The Cap. That is enough to pay the incoming draft class, but more space would need to be created in order to make any free-agent signings and have an in-season budget.

But those moves can still be made without cutting ties with Mack. Joey Bosa, Derwin James, and Trey Pipkins could all be reasonable restructuring candidates this offseason. If the Chargers really wanted to, the team could create another $20+ million in cap space by restructuring just those three players.

Next. Bold predict. Bold predictions for Harbaugh's first offseason in LA. dark