The buzzword these days across the entire NFL landscape is cap relief. Nearly every team wants it as they attempt to position themselves to make some moves when free agency hits on March 12. For the San Diego Chargers, the idea of creating some additional wiggle room under the current salary cap is more than just a want. This team has several areas that need a significant makeover this offseason season, but very limited resources with which to do so. There are a number possibilities for how the club could go about creating some room however and here are some of the players who could factor in to this equation.
Obviously the best place to start is with the club’s highest cap number in 2013 with Rivers slated to count $17.11 million against the cap. Only eight players in the entire league carry a higher number than that this season and it is safe to say that Rivers didn’t play better than all but eight players last season. General Manager Tom Telesco need to seriously consider restructuring the seven-year, $98 million deal that Rivers signed in 2009 to give the club some breathing room.
Carrying the second highest cap number in 2013, Weddle is set to count $8.6 million against the number this year. Renegotiating with him is a definite possibility as the club could move some money to the back end of the deal when they don’t have many contracts on the books. Given his competitive nature in a similar mold to Rivers, it would be surprising if they both refused to move some money around to help improve the team.
While most players in the locker room would prefer it if the Big Lazy were cut loose, restructuring his deal and getting him to take a pay cut may be the second best option. He played in just four games in 2012 and has had constant work ethic issues during his career. On his future, GM Telesco said: “I want to talk to him. I can’t make any decisions based on what people have told me. It’s a new regime. I’ve got to get to know everybody. I’ll take opinions from everybody. In the end, it’s our decisions. Will he be back for training camp? I don’t know. I’ve barely talked to him. We have a lot of work to do.” If on the week 1 roster, Gaither will count $6.5 million against the cap while counting $6 million if cut. Telesco’s answers to the media are the correct ones, but if he gets the true pulse of the locker room, chances are Gaither gets the axe.
It’s hard to imagine the opinions being any more favorable for Meachem who missed a number of games due to injury during his first season in San Diego and was flat out awful in the games he did participate in. His contract is beyond insane, but the Bolts would have to eat WAY too much money to cut him loose. Telesco must sit down with him and negotiate a pay cut of some sort before free agency begins.
Restructuring deals is always a tricky subject with players’ egos being insulted, but Telesco can’t be a pushover. In order to make this rebuild successful, he must take charge. On the subject at large, he said: “Some things we’ll probably have to look at, as far as where we are. Sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it doesn’t. You always know which ones could be reworked. I don’t know if we’ll have to go down that route or not. Probably not. We’re still early in that process. I think we’ll open up the next year, but we don’t have a lot of room this year. But we’ll make do.”