In a series of moves to get the team farther under the cap, the San Diego Chargers released defensive tackle Antonio Garay and tight end Randy McMichael on the opening day of free agency.
Garay, 33, spent four seasons in San Diego. His best season came in 2010 when he recorded 48 tackles and 5.5 sacks. However, last season, he was a healthy scratch for the first half of the year until player injuries forced him onto the field. In eight games, Garay made 16 tackles and recorded one sack. He was due a $1.5 million roster bonus this weekend, and his release saves the Chargers $5.13 million.
McMichael, who turns 34 in June, played three years with the Bolts. A gritty blocking tight end, McMichael was phased out of the passing game last season, recording just nine receptions for 51 yards. He was due a roster bonus of $250,000 this weekend, and his release saves the team another $1.5 million in cap space.
Both players were locker room leaders, but with their age and contracts, their releases were expected.
The offseason moves so far show that the team is clearly trying to get younger. Two starters from last season, Takeo Spikes, 36, and Atari Bigby, 31, have already been let go, while Quentin Jammer, 33, Shaun Phillips, 31, and Demorrio Williams, 32, are unrestricted free agents and aren’t expected to return.
With a little more wiggle room under the salary cap, general manager Tom Telesco should have more options in free agency. The team’s veteran releases only created more holes on the roster to fill, so it’ll be interesting to see how Telesco operates in his first free agency period.