There has been plenty of discussion throughout the NFL of restructuring contracts and moving decimal points to increase salary cap room for a number of teams. This same effort could be seen with the San Diego Chargers soon as the team looks to increase its already nice $8.5 million in cap room in order to pursue some free agents on March 12. While has yet to be discussed with the players involved, it wouldn’t be a shock if the Bolts at least talked to some veterans about a contract adjustment.
As outlined here in a previous piece, the Bolts have several possibilities when it comes to restructuring deals to increase cap room. There are also a number of players due some hefty dollars in the coming year that could just be flat out released.
Even though these are all internal discussions that are undoubtedly dominating the conversation inside the team facility at this point, General Manager Tom Telesco was quick to say that he likes the idea of keeping some veteran continuity around. In an interview with Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego, the GM said: “You still need some of those guys. You can’t have 22 guys that are 24 years (old). You have to blend in that experience and leadership. That’s big.”
Telesco was a big part of the rebuild that took place last offseason with the Indianapolis Colts which paved the way for a turnaround from 2-14 to 11-5. Clearly his philosophy on this issue is going to carry some weight as the Bolts look to regain their success of a few years ago.
The two main names that he was referring to in particular with this quote however were linebacker Takeo Spikes and tight end Randy McMichael. Spikes is 36 and entering the final year of his deal with a base salary that is set at $3 million for the upcoming year. His cap number would be $3.7 million which would be hard to justify for a now part-time player. McMichael has been used sparingly as well in recent years and he will be 34 years old in June with $1.25 million in base salary and a $250,000 roster bonus.
Spikes has said he wants to return for his 15th NFL season while McMichael is set for his 11th year in the league. That is the type of experience that Telesco is referring to. These players have seen a little bit of everything during their time in the league and that kind of locker room presence is invaluable to a team. While it may be tempting to simply blow everything up and start from scratch in a rebuilding effort, Telesco realizes that this type of player has some serious value to off to an organization.
It would be naïve to think that the Bolts are going to keep all of their aging veterans with ballooning cap numbers just for the sake of experience, but it would be just as foolish to cut them just for that reason. The market for these players isn’t going to be terribly competitive and both seem comfortable with the organization. Hopefully some sort of compromise can be reached to keep their experience in San Diego for the 2013 season.