Chargers show no faith in new signing with shocking contract details

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The LA Chargers made a slew of moves this offseason under new head coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Joe Hortiz. Hortiz's strategy was to bring in several players he was familiar with from the Baltimore Ravens to help build out the depth of Harbaugh's roster.

One of those former Ravens is running back J.K. Dobbins, who signed a one-year deal with the team. The Chargers are taking a flier on Dobbins, who has battled injuries throughout his career but has proven to be a legitimate RB1 when healthy. He joins fellow former Raven Gus Edwards along with rookie Kimani Vidal and former third-round pick Isaiah Spiller.

Dobbins is a cheap investment for the Chargers as his one-year deal is worth just $1.61 million with an additional $750,000 in possible incentives. It turns out Dobbins is going to be even cheaper than Chargers fans may have realized, as the guaranteed money on his deal was recently revealed to be an abhorrently low figure.

Chargers are obviously hedging on J.K. Dobbins

We all knew that Dobbins was a flier signing for the Chargers and that nothing was guaranteed but wow did the team still set the bar low for the expectations. In the world of the NFL salary cap, $50,000 is pretty much nothing and proves Dobbins is not a lock to make this team.

Many penciled Dobbins in as the RB2 on the roster after the Chargers signed him this offseason. Some even theorized he could be the RB1 on the team based on how good he has been when healthy in his career.

While that is absolutely in the realm of possibility, the Chargers attaching such a low guarantee to his contract proves the team is not married to the idea of keeping him on the roster. If Dobbins does not go out and earn his spot during training camp then the Chargers will have no issue cutting bait with the veteran back.

That is exactly how it should be and why Harbaugh is so successful as a head coach. Players should not get guaranteed spots on the roster because of how big their name is or what they accomplished before. The best of the best gets roster spots and Dobbins' low guarantee is yet another reminder of that.

This could be great news for Vidal, who looked like Austin Ekeler-light coming out of college, or even Isaiah Spiller, who has received rave reviews from the coaching staff.

Or it could end up being a motivating factor for Dobbins to elevate his game as he is playing for his job and his payday in 2024. Either way, this will get the best out of the Chargers' running back room in 2024.