San Diego Chargers wide receiver Robert Meachem was awful last season. What’s worse is he made a lot of money while giving the Chargers close to nothing in return. And even worse, his big contract given to him by former general manager A.J. Smith will likely keep him around for another season, to once again make a lot of money while likely doing nothing.
New GM Tom Telesco stood by Meachem, saying that “early on in the year when he played a little more, he looked pretty good to me.”
I don’t know what Telesco is looking, at but Meachem rarely looked good in a Chargers uniform. His best game by far came against his former team, the New Orleans Saints, when he caught three passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns. Other than that, he never topped 50 yards, and barely played at all during the second half of the season. Philip Rivers completed less than 44% of the passes thrown Meachem’s way, meaning the two clearly lacked chemistry.
Telesco won’t say it, but his decision to keep Meachem has to be solely based on financial reasons, not football ones.
Meachem signed a four-year, $25.5 million contract with a $7.5 million signing bonus last off-season. Cutting him just one year into his deal would result in a $10.6 million cap hit, since his $5 million base salary in 2013 is fully guaranteed. Keeping him would actually be $3.75 million cheaper.
Since the team already has little wiggle room under the cap, it’s understandable that Telesco wants to save every penny possible.
On the bright side, things can’t get much worse. The damage is done, while the expectations for Meachem are at an all-time low. His chemistry with Rivers can’t get worse in year two, and maybe head coach Mike McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt can get more out of him than Norv Turner could.
Still, the best that Chargers fans can hope for is that Meachem doesn’t need to see the field. If Danario Alexander, Malcom Floyd and Vincent Brown stay healthy and effective, the Chargers passing attack will be just fine.