The first domino of the LA Chargers offseason fell on Tuesday as it was reported that Mike Williams agreed to a new three-year, $60 million contract that will pay him $28 million in 2022. There have been a lot of debates about the deal on social media, which we think is a great one.
The cap hit for Williams in 2022 is yet to be disclosed. While he is making $28 million, the cap hit is likely going to be less than that number. Either way, it is going to take a big chunk of the salary cap from the Chargers to spend in other areas.
This is the first step in a likely busy offseason for the Chargers and Williams' new deal is going to have a direct impact on the other impending free agents in LA. Kyzir White and Uchenna Nwosu are going to be impacted the most as they are the two biggest names remaining that need to be re-signed and will cost the most.
How the Mike Williams contract could impact Kyzir White and Uchenna Nwosu's future with the Chargers:
The Chargers still have salary-cap space to spend. Even if Williams was making $28 million against the cap the team would have over $30 million to spend after cutting Bryan Bulaga. LA also has the potential to free up another $40 million in cap space with simple restructures if needed.
Tom Telesco has not done much restructuring in his career so it is unlikely that the team frees up a huge amount of money that way but they still have the ability to do so. The Chargers can spend but they have to choose who they spend on.
And when it comes to White and Nwosu, I believe that Mike Williams' new deal will result in White staying with the Chargers and Nwosu leaving. But why?
Nwosu and the Chargers reportedly have a mutual interest in Nwosu returning but the money "has to be right". The same report also details that Nwosu has a strong market this offseason.
The fact of the matter is that edge rushers get paid more than inside linebackers in the NFL. Most would agree that White was the more impactful player for the Chargers last season but his contract projection is lower. PFF projects White to get a two-year, $12.5 million deal while projecting Nwosu to get a three-year, $26.25 million deal.
The difference in annual salary is just over $2 million but the overall money is more than doubled. That matters for the Chargers, especially considering the other options that the team has.
There are some really good edge rushers in the 2022 NFL Draft class. The Chargers could save more money by letting Nwosu walk, re-signing White and drafting someone like Jermaine Johnson or David Ojabo with the 17th overall pick. That extra money saved by not signing Nwosu (albeit small) could help go towards bringing in cornerback help as well.
Plus, White feels like more of a sure-fire signing for the Chargers. Yes, Tom Telesco is potentially scarred after giving Donald Butler a much-deserved new contract only for Butler to stop trying once he got paid. Kyzir White isn't Donald Butler. He is someone else and if there is anyone to potentially have concerns about, it is Nwosu.
Nwosu never played 40% of the defensive snaps prior to the 2021 season and in 2021 he really struggled in the first half of the season before exploding in the second half. You cannot blame the Chargers for not wanting to commit more money to someone who, in four years, has one good eight-game stretch under his belt.
If Williams did not re-sign with the Chargers then I think we could have penciled them both back to LA. However, with Williams getting his new deal, it seems likely that the Chargers will pick Kyzir White over Uchenna Nwosu.