There were plenty of things to be disappointed about as a fan of the San Diego Chargers during the 2012 campaign. From the fact that quarterback Philip Rivers seemingly lived on the turf to Ryan Mathews’ continued fumblitis and injury woes, the offense wasn’t fun to watch. It was downright painful at times, but perhaps the most frustrating member of that unit was high-priced wide receiver Robert Meachem. Or was he?
According to new General Manager Tom Telesco: “I was actually watching the tape of him. Early on in the year when he played a little more, he looked pretty good to me, so I’m excited to see him in OTAs, running routes, up close and personal and get to know him a little better.” Part of me wants to be optimistic and believe in Telesco’s upbeat nature while the other part of me just wants to scream.
Meachem’s meager 14 catches on just 32 targets in 2012 were embarrassing. Incompetent former head coach Norv Turner preferred to let him rot away on the sidelines during the second half of the season due to health issues and drops.
It’s hard to blame GM Telesco though for wanting to give Meachem the benefit of the doubt in a regime change. Couple that with the fact that cutting him now would cost the team more than keeping him on the roster for the 2013 season and it’s easy to see why he will be back with one last chance this year.
Meachem’s $5 million base salary for the upcoming year is fully guaranteed and when coupled with his prorated $7.5 million signing bonus, cutting him would count $10.625 million against the cap. If kept on the roster, his number is $6.875 million.
The long and short of things is that Meachem will be back for one last chance to prove himself with the Bolts. His base salary of $5 million in 2014 is not guaranteed and while cutting him now would count seriously against the cap, doing so a year from now would actually save the team $3.125 million.
With a new coaching staff comes a new life for Meachem and his time in San Diego. The old regime clearly didn’t give him much of an opportunity, but Mike McCoy should find a way to utilize Meachem much more effectively. With Vincent Brown expected back healthy, Malcom Floyd still around, and Danario Alexander returning as well, the Bolts have all of the pieces to make this quartet of wideouts work. One thing is certain, Meachem needs a bounce back season in 2013 or his 2014 won’t be spent in sunny Southern California.