One would think a veteran player signed to a big-money contract just last offseason would be entering their second season with their respective team in good graces. If one were to think that with wide receiver Robert Meachem and his status with the San Diego Chargers, however, one would be sorely mistaken.
A recent editorial in U-T San Diego made a case for the Bolts to cut bait with the highest priced receiver on their roster. The Chargers guaranteed $14 million to Meachem just last offseason in a deal that also guaranteed his 2013 salary of $5 million. It would essentially cost the team the same amount to keep him on the roster as it would to cut him, but still many are unhappy with the way the receiver has worked out with the team.
The receiver has been quite critical of himself recently saying:
“What did you do last year? To yourself, you’ve got to totally be honest with yourself and look yourself in the mirror. You sucked last year. So now what are you going to do? Are you going to be the same guy as last year or are you going to be a new guy?”
Buried on the Chargers depth chart at wide receiver despite the season-ending injury to Danario Alexander, Meachem will have to fight for playing time as the fourth wide out with rookie Keenan Allen also impressing coaches. Malcom Floyd and Vincent Brown are primed to be the starters, and one would think a veteran player like Meachem would be in the running for a bigger role than a fourth receiver – at least his salary would dictate that. Eddie Royal – another of the receivers signed last offseason – also remains ahead of Meachem on the depth chart.
Even though he has taken the blame for a disturbingly poor 14 catches for 207 yards and two scores last season, perhaps the Bolts should just cut their losses as they did with the Jared Gaither debacle and move on. General manager Tom Telesco has done a nice job of clarifying the roster after his predecessor, A.J. Smith, really muddied things up prior to his dismissal. Still, his decision to retain Meachem this long despite his lackluster performance a season ago has been puzzling.
Despite those difficulties a season ago, Meachem’s attitude seems to be in the right place as the receiver said:
“Every year is a new start. Every day is a new start. You have to take it one day at a time,” Meachem said. “Last year was last year. If you’re going to dwell on last year, this year is going to be bad. So you’ve got to look toward the future.”
While the rhetoric is encouraging, paying a receiver $5 million to hold down the bench really doesn’t make much sense. That kind of disproportionate salary can divide a locker room and really cause players contributing far more to the team and making far less money to question their motivation. It really would solve some lingering questions if the Chargers gave Meachem his walking papers and moved on from what appears to have been a malinvestment.