Chargers may have newfound cap space to use thanks to the NFL

Los Angeles Chargers Introduce Jim Harbaugh As Head Coach
Los Angeles Chargers Introduce Jim Harbaugh As Head Coach / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

With the dust settled from the Jim Harbaugh and Joe Hortiz hires, the next biggest storyline for the LA Chargers is how the team is going to become cap-compliant this offseason. The Chargers were over $45 million over next season's projected cap space entering the offseason after last spring's bold contract restructures.

The Chargers made their first cap-adjacent move on Monday when it was announced that the team would be restructuring Corey Linsley's contract. Linsley is likely going to retire due to a non-emergent heart issue and restructuring his deal saved the Chargers $10.29 million in cap space (which is $2.6 million more than if they didn't do the restructure).

This puts the team $35.5 million above the projected salary cap but it might not even be that bad. All of the cap projections to this point were under the assumption that the salary cap would be set at $242 million next season. However, that number now looks low as the NFL may be looking at an even larger salary cap next season.

Chargers may have newfound cap space thanks to the NFL

Closer to $250 million than $243 million indicates that the cap could be in the $247-250 million range. If the cap landed at $247 million next season that would give the Chargers $5 million more in cap space than expected, which would put the team at $30 million above next year's cap.

If the cap were to go all the way to $250 million (unlikely) then the Chargers would be just $27 million above the cap. While there is still work to do, this extra money could be huge for the Chargers as they build out next year's roster.

The Chargers can free as much as $62 million in cap space and with this added help from the NFL, the team might be able to bring in an extra cheap free-agent signing or two. Heck, with this added cap space, the Chargers could theoretically even keep Khalil Mack around. There is a world in which the Chargers could get under the cap, and still have enough space for a draft class and in-season signings.

With the cap at $242 million that would be borderline impossible. That extra $5-7 million really does make a huge difference, and could legitimately add an extra win or two to the Chargers' record next season.

If the cap ends up at $242 million then the Chargers still have the ability to get under the salary cap, make enough cap space for the draft and some cheap signings, and make the best of what the team has. But with more money, new doors open for LA that didn't exist before.

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