The LA Chargers are already among the teams with the most cap space this offseason with several expiring free agents and some rollover cap space from the 2021 season. Having such a high number in cap space indicates that the Chargers will spend big this offseason and the team might end up spending much bigger than we could have even expected.
As it currently stands, according to Over The Cap, the Chargers have $48.9 million in effective cap space this offseason. That gives the Chargers the second-most cap space to spend this offseason, only trailing the Miami Dolphins at $56.2 million.
That number can get substantially higher for the Bolts this offseason and in fact, the Chargers can more than double their cap-space figure and get all the way into nine figures. No, you are not reading that incorrectly.
How the LA Chargers can get to $100 million in cap space this offseason:
NFL teams have long taken advantage of restructuring contracts. That is how teams like the Saints were able to continue operating at such absurd cap numbers when it did not even seem possible. The Saints had to utilize these restructures to get back under the salary cap, though. The Chargers can utilize them simply to make more space.
Over the Cap released an extremely valuable resource called the restructure potential tool. In the table, OTC broke down how much money a team can free up with simple restructures as well as complex restructures.
Simple restructures are, you guessed it, much easier for teams to execute than complex restructures. Over the Cap explains them as the following:
"A simple restructure converts payments into prorated signing bonuses within the confines of the remainder of the contract. Teams typically have the ability to unilaterally execute simple restructures without any action necessary from the player."
Simply put, the Chargers can get to their maximum amount of cap space created by simple restructures if they want to. The team would have to weigh the impact of future cap hits as they spread out a cap hit by turning it into a signing bonus, but the Bolts can reach their simple restructure ceiling fairly easily. According to OTC, that ceiling is $40.8 million.
If the Chargers were to execute all of the simple restructures that they can this offseason then the team would have $89.7 million to spend in free agency this offseason. However, the Bolts do not (and will not) stop there. The team also has a prime cut candidate in Bryan Bulaga, who played one half in 2021 and has a big cap hit for the 2022 season.
By cutting Bulaga, the Chargers would create another $10.75 million in cap space for the 2022 season. That brings the Bolts' grand total up to $100.45 million in practical cap space. The team could go even higher with complex restructures but they don't even have to as they have nine figures to spend.
So whenever someone says that the Chargers cannot afford to re-sign Mike Williams this offseason, just point them to this article.