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NFL San Diego Chargers

5 San Diego Chargers Who Shouldn’t Be Back in 2014

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5 Players San Diego Chargers Must Cut Before 2014 NFL Season

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Plenty of retooling has already been done to the San Diego Chargers post-A.J. Smith apocalypse, but the roster could still use some work looking ahead to 2014.

There’s no doubt the Bolts have to be thrilled with the results of year one in the Mike McCoy-Tom Telesco era. Even though their 9-7 record facilitated by a four-game winning streak to end the season was still somewhat middling, the fact that the team won its first playoff game in a half-decade is a large step in the right direction. The fact that the aforementioned run of success late in the year was also fueled by several young pieces of the roster also provides reason to be upbeat for next season.

Where that pleasant vibe starts to dissipate, however, is upon examining some of the underachieving players set to carry big cap numbers into the upcoming season. Obviously quarterback Philip Rivers headlines the team’s list of enormous cap numbers with a staggering $16.7 million set to come his way in 2014. After the impressive season he had this past year with the fiery leadership he provides on a regular basis, though, the team can’t be too upset with him backing up the Brinks truck.

An honorable mention for this list has to be linebacker Jarret Johnson who carries a $5.5 million cap hit next season and a $6.5 million number in 2015. He provides valuable leadership defensively and plays a position where the Chargers are already thin so he seems safe for now, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he were included among the contracts the team looks to restructure this offseason.

For now, let’s take a look at five Chargers who should be looking for a new place to call home in the very near future.

Anthony Blake is a Senior Writer/Copy Editor for Rant Sports. You Can Follow Him on Twitter, on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Derek Cox, CB

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Cutting bait with Derek Cox after just one season in lightning bolts seems a bit foolish but not quite as crazy as paying him $5.55 million in 2014. Cox found a seat on the bench during the Bolts’ stretch run, and his signing is the one big blunder the new front office made thus far. Though GM Telesco may not be ready to give up on him just yet, the Chargers would be wise to cut him soon because once the new league year starts in March his salary for the upcoming season is fully guaranteed

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4. Dwight Freeney ,OLB

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

This one seems a bit underhanded being that Dwight Freeney was injured and out for the bulk of the 2013 campaign, but at 33-years-old coming off of a major injury there are serious question marks surrounding the former sack-master. The $3 million in savings from releasing Freeney just might be more valuable than his presence on the team next season. San Diego will be looking for pass-rushers in the 2014 NFL Draft, so maybe a divorce would be the smartest thing for these two parties.

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3. Le'Ron McClain, FB

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

$2.5 million for a player in a position that is going extinct seems psyche-ward-worthy. Why the previous regime valued Le’Ron McClain so much back then is beyond me, but this new group barely even put him on the field this past season. Look for this cut to be the easiest offseason decision the Chargers make heading into the new league year.

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2. Eddie Royal, WR

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

This particular cut isn’t quite as easy to make given that Eddie Royal had a spectacular run of games for the Bolts this season. His eight touchdowns on the year were certainly valuable, but the fact that he only had one in the final nine games of the year (including the two playoff games) makes him expendable. Keenan Allen’s emergence as a rookie along with the potential return of Danario Alexander next season will mean Royal is looking for a new team in 2014.

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1. Jeromey Clary, OT

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The reason for putting an offensive tackle at the top of the list is because I have been personally pleading with the organization to cut Jeromey Clary for the last four years. His propensity to commit boneheaded penalties at the worst possible times combined with the ease to replace him makes it a wonder he lasted so long. This has to be the last offseason I beg the Bolts to dump Clary. He has $4.55 million in non-guaranteed base salary that he should never see next season. Good riddance to untimely penalties and subpar play on pretty much every snap.

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