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Chargers Defensive Lineman Could Be a Surprising Cut Candidate

The Chargers are amidst a rebuilding year, and ridding themselves of pieces that are not a part of their future should be a very strong priority for this regime.
Morgan Fox Cut

As we all know by now, the Los Angeles Chargers find themselves in a massive cap deficit and will need to make major cuts to avoid cap violations. Many will name what Charger fans have deemed “the big four” to be the first in line. The big four consist of Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, Joey Bosa, and Khalil Mack. These moves will be the biggest needle-pusher to where the Chargers need to be.

To conclude, there are plenty of cuts that are going under the radar for this bolts team. Any amount of cap savings helps this team move forward. Morgan Fox could be an unfortunate cap casualty.

Why Morgan Fox Could Be Cut

Morgan Fox initially signed with the Chargers on a veteran minimum deal in 2022. He was signed to compete with Jerry Tillery for the starting defensive tackle spot. Fox possesses a very similar skillset as Tillery. A strong pass rusher, but a weak run defender. Early in his time in the Powder Blues, Fox developed into a stronger defender against the run. This earned him the full starting job after the Chargers cut Tillery. Fox was given a contract extension at the end of 2022, a 2-year deal worth $7,250,000.

Fox eventually moved into a smaller role in 2023, whereas Austin Johnson, Sebastian Joseph-Day, and Nick Williams (who all are expected to not be retained into 2024) held down snaps at the interior defensive line. Fans were complaining about the lack of playtime given to Fox, as he was very good in his role. Unfortunately, this was all under the previous regime. Now with the new front office and defensive coordinator Jesse Minter, they very well may finish the gutting of the interior defensive line room.

Michigan’s Type

This article was completely inspired by a tweet by Arjun Menon, an NFL analytics guru. He mentions in his tweet that Michigan, the school where we got our head coach and defensive coordinator, has a type. They like them big. Morgan Fox is not nearly as big as the defensive tackles they usually look for.

Side Note: The Chargers currently have Chris Hinton, and has been a very underrated defensive tackle for the Bolts. Look for him to likely get a larger role in 2024.

Morgan Fox has always been a tweener in his career. He has played the majority of his career snaps in the B-Gap as a 3 technique, or as a 4/4i technique which is lined up on the tackle or on the tackle’s inside shoulder. Fox is not big enough at 6’3 275 to play a stereotypical role as a three-technique. He also isn’t quick enough (4.89 40-time at 263 lbs, from his pro-day) to play as a true EDGE defender. He is a square peg trying to fit in a round hole, the round hole being this new defensive scheme.

Cap Ramifications

Morgan Fox currently has one more year on his deal, that being the 2024 season. Over The Cap has him listed as a $4,750,000 cap hit for this Chargers team, with $1,250,000 in dead money if he were to be cut. The Chargers would net $3,500,000 in cap space by cutting Fox. Though not a massive cap saver, but definitely a step in the right direction.

The Chargers have some young and cheap players lower on the depth chart that could prove themselves in a full season starting. If even one of Otito Ogbonnia, Scott Matlock, Chris Hinton, CJ Okoye, and Jerrod Clark show starting potential, you have yielded yourself a new starter on a day three rookie contract/an undrafted free agent contract. Fox will only take snaps away from these prospects.

Last Word on Fox’s Chance to be a Surprising Cut Candidate

The Chargers are amidst a rebuilding year, and ridding themselves of pieces that are not a part of their future should be a very strong priority for this regime. Fox will likely not be a part of this team’s future, and by playing snaps, he will be taking away snaps from younger, cheaper, potential starting defensive tackles that the Chargers currently have on the back end of the roster and practice squad. Combine this with his current cap hit and weak fit in this new Chargers defense, Charger fans should expect Fox to be a surprising cap casualty for this team.

Main Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


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