How the Chargers can easily free up $36 million in cap space

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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The LA Chargers were in a great position last offseason with a surplus of cap space and star players to spend it on. That is exactly that the team did, as Tom Telesco and Brandon Staley produced the most aggressive offseason in franchise history.

Now the situation is a bit different. The NFL's cap number is officially set at $224.8 million, meaning that the Chargers are $20.3 million over the cap as it stands right now, per Over The Cap. The team is going to have to get creative to free up cap space to retain players and to bring in the draft class.

Using OTC's cap calculator, Chargers fans can play around with the different scenarios to see how the team can free up money. And with a few simple moves, the Chargers can free up around $35 million in cap space to spend this offseason (and that is not including a Keenan Allen trade/cut).

How the Chargers can free up $35 million in cap space:

1. Extending Michael Davis

The Chargers were probably planning on cutting Michael Davis after the 2022 season considering he had a bad 2021 season and had very little dead money attached to his contract in 2023. However, Davis turned around and was one of the best corners in the entire league after the bye week, becoming an impossible cap casualty for the Bolts.

What the Chargers can do, however, is offer him an extension that can bring down his cap hit for the 2023 season. The Chargers can convert some of his base salary into a signing bonus, allowing that cap hit to be spaced out over several years.

There are more complex ways the Chargers can go about this but if they simply convert $5 million of his $6 million salary into a signing bonus, and add on two more years, then his cap hit would fall to $6 million. This would save the Chargers just under $3.5 million.

It is not a lot, and as mentioned, the team can get more creative with this is they want to free up slightly more space. But this is an easy way to add a bit more wiggle room while also benefiting both parties.