After the most aggressive offseason in franchise history in 2022, the LA Chargers now have a much different situation on their hands in 2023. Instead of having money to spend, the Chargers actually have to free up over $20 million in salary-cap space to become cap compliant.
This takes the Chargers out of the running when it comes to any big-name free agents and it also forces the team to make some tough decisions as well. While the Bolts can restructure certain contracts to free up space, some players are naturally going to see their Chargers tenure come to an end.
That extends past any potential cap casualties as well. There are various free agents that the Chargers have to either re-sign or let walk this offseason. Perhaps the biggest of those free agents is Drue Tranquill, who is coming off of the best year of his career.
This career year is going to get Tranquill paid this offseason and early projections for the linebacker are bad news for Chargers fans. Pro Football Focus projects Tranquill to sign a three-year, $21 million contact with $12.5 million in guaranteed money.
NFL Rumors: Drue Tranquill may be too expensive for the Chargers.
Unless Drue Tranquill is willing to take a pay cut to stay in Los Angeles, chances are that he will not be re-joining the Chargers this offseason. While a three-year, $21 million contract is not groundbreaking, it is still too expensive for the Bolts to be able to afford.
Even if the Chargers structure the contract to backload the cap hit it is hard to imagine a world in which they can comfortably offer this money to Tranquill. This is a team that needs to free up extra cap space to sign its draft class plus whatever over free agents that need to be re-signed.
Restricted free agents such as Donald Parham still need to be accounted for and perhaps the most important free agent for the Bolts is Trey Pipkins. Brandon Staley has not shown that he values linebackers enough to pay them, so paying the right tackle in Pipkins instead of the linebacker in Tranquill is the likely move.
This is going to send the Chargers to the drawing board as Kenneth Murray has not been great thus far in his career and would be the no. 1 LB on the depth chart.