The Los Angeles Chargers aren’t likely to be doing nearly as much spending this offseason as last year; they will have some work to do with the cap before they can do much at all, as they’re $20 million over the cap. This will likely require some restructuring of contracts, as the likes of Keenan Allen and Corey Linsley almost certainly aren’t getting cut. But there will be a few cap casualties as well. Here are the most likely cut candidates for the Chargers.
Note that all of the following salary cap numbers are via Over the Cap.
Top Five Los Angeles Chargers Cut Candidates
1. Matt Feiler
There were rumblings about Feiler being among potential 2023 Chargers cut candidates as early as the start of last year. Now it looks more likely than ever. The offensive guard took a step back in 2022, not being as effective as usual. It was notable that the running game seemed to do noticeably better when running to the right as opposed to the left – which is ironic since Feiler’s main skill is supposed to be run-blocking.
But more importantly, he has become expendable. When Rashawn Slater went down in Week 3 of last year, the versatile rookie Jamaree Salyer got put in at left tackle – and did admirably for a rookie whose specialty is allegedly elsewhere. Though Salyer can play nearly anywhere on the line, he was originally drafted to play guard. With Zion Johnson locking up right guard and Trey Pipkins expected to return at right tackle, the solution is clear here: cut Feiler, save $6.5 million on the cap, and give Salyer a permanent starting role – which he has certainly earned.
2. Dustin Hopkins
With Cameron Dicker having a breakout year as a rookie (only missing one field goal in the regular season), the previous kicker Hopkins – who got injured during the 2022 season, hence Dicker stepping in – is now a likely cap casualty as well. The savings here wouldn’t be massive – $1.6 million before June 1st, $2.2 million after June 1st – but every bit helps, and Dicker will almost certainly be cheaper anyway. Hopkins deserves credit for kicking four field goals with a bad leg on Monday Night Football to help the Chargers win in Week 6, but moving forward with Dicker is the obvious choice for the Chargers.
3. Gerald Everett
Everett had a few flashy games – including in the Wildcard round – but overall, he didn’t pan out as well as the new starting tight end as hoped, even if he made fewer errors than Jared Cook did. The Chargers may end up targeting a tight end in the Draft – of which this is supposed to be a strong class at that position – such as Dalton Kincaid and Michael Mayer.
If that occurs, Everett will become quite expendable. They’d have to eat $4 million in dead money if they cut him, but they’d save $4.2 million – and that might be a deal the Chargers are willing to make, depending on how high they are on Everett going forward.
4. Michael Davis
Cutting Davis loose would not be ideal after a strong 2022 season where he was arguably the most consistent cornerback on the team. But cutting him would save $7.4 million while only leaving $2 million in dead money, making him a prime target for savings.
The problem in this equation is the fact that he was the player that stepped up the most after J.C. Jackson went down – and it’s not overly likely Jackson will even be available at the start of the season, or that he will be the same player given the nature of his injury (not that he was doing well before he got hurt either). However, they’re stuck with Jackson for now; and sometimes when you’re in cap hell, tough decisions have to be made. Davis could potentially end up being one of those.
5. Khalil Mack
I do not think cutting Mack after just one season following a blockbuster trade is particularly likely; it seems more likely that they would just restructure his deal. However, out of all the high-profile candidates where they would save money by cutting them, Mack seems the most “likely” – due to his age and the fact that no other player would provide more cap savings if cut ($18.4 million saved, $9 million dead money before June 1st; $22.9 million saved and $4.5 million dead money after June 1st).
While releasing Mack would leave a bit of a hole at edge rusher – and would likely be seen as giving up on a big acquisition too quickly – if push comes to shove, it could happen. Again, though, it feels more likely that they would just restructure if they can help it.
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