Chargers' latest move hints at who the team might cut next

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The LA Chargers have been pretty busy this offseason. It started with Tom Telesco restructuring the contracts of Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack to make enough cap space to bring key players back to the fold.

That is exactly what happened as the likes of Trey Pipkins, Morgan Fox and Donald Parham (among others) all returned to the team. While it stung to see him leave for so cheap, the Chargers were also able to replace Drue Tranquill with a veteran in Eric Kendricks.

The biggest moves of free agency are in the past but there are still more moves to be made by the Bolts. On Wednesday, the team did make two lesser moves, bringing back Cameron Dicker on his exclusive rights tender.

This gives Dicker a non-guaranteed one-year minimum contract for the 2023 season. It also potentially hints at the next roster move that the Chargers might make, which is one that was circled before the offseason began.

Chargers cutting Dustin Hopkins now seems inevitable.

The Chargers finally found a solid kicker in Dustin Hopkins during the 2021 season and rewarded him with a multi-year contract as a result. However, hamstring issues kept him off the field for the second half of the 2022 season, allowing Cameron Dicker to get the job and thrive in it.

Dicker was more than consistent for the Bolts and earned the moniker of Dicker the Kicker. He quickly became beloved by Chargers fans who want to see the young kicker continue his career in LA next season.

From a cost perspective, Dicker is the far better choice for the Chargers in 2023. Hopkins is carrying a $3 million cap hit which is over three times as much as Dicker. If the Chargers can spend a third and get the same (if not better) production at a position then they should do it every single time.

Plus, Hopkins is getting up there in age (will be 33 during the 2023 season) and it is hard to predict how he will perform after the hamstring injury. There is a chance it does not impact him at all but there is also the chance that he is far worse.

Regardless, it might be some time until Hopkins does get cut as the Chargers would save more money by cutting him with a post-June 1 designation. A pre-June 1 designation would save $385 thousand against the cap while a post-June 1 designation would save $2.28 million, per Over The Cap.

That might not seem like a lot but that would allow the Chargers to make one additional free-agent signing as the team would be creating $2.28 million more in regular-season spending space. With Dicker being such a big fan favorite and earning a starting job, this move is a no-brainer.