This offseason will provide significant challenges for the Chargers
February 9, 2023
The 2023 off-season has started for the Los Angeles Chargers management team and the 2023 will provide some significant challenges. The Chargers need to address the NFL salary cap, they need to prepare for the NFL Draft, and they need to find a way to resign or extend the players they need to make another playoff appearance in 2023.
The Chargers will need to get below the NFL salary cap of $224.8 million by 1:00 PM on March 15th. That is the day the 2023 NFL season will officially begin. That is also the official beginning of NFL free agency. According to Spotrac.com, the Chargers are about $19.8 million over the salary cap.
The Chargers have some difficult decisions to make to get under the salary cap this year. Left guard Matt Feiler could be cut, saving $6.5 million against the salary cap. Tight end Gerald Everett could be let go, with a savings of $4 million. That is a total of $10.5 million in savings. But those two cuts only get the Chargers about halfway to their league mandated salary limit.
The two Charger players that would bring the most savings against the salary cap would be linebacker Khalil Mack and wide receiver Keenan Allen. Cutting Mack would save $18.4 million against the salary cap. Cutting Allen would save $14.8 million against the salary cap. Mack is a future Hall of Famer coming off a pro bowl season. He is a leader on an improving defense. It is doubtful he is cut.
Allen is a ten-year veteran who will be 31 next season. He is a five-time pro bowl wide receiver. He may have lost a step, but he is still one of the best route runners in the NFL and he still has great hands. He would be difficult to replace and quarterback Justin Herbert would miss Allen. The Chargers could attempt to trade Allen, to at least get some compensation for him.
The Chargers could restructure a few contracts, but that just pushes the money out to the future and at some point, the team has to pay the bill. But without a restructuring of contracts, it will not be possible to keep Allen. Without Allen, the Chargers will be very thin at wide receiver. They are going to need help at wide receiver and tight end in the upcoming draft even if they keep Allen.
The Chargers have some key unrestricted free agents of their own that they will need to resign, starting with linebacker Kyle Van Noy, linebacker Drew Tranquill, cornerback Bryce Callahan, defensive end Morgan Fox, wide receiver DeAndre Carter, right tackle Trey Pipkins, and safety Nasir Adderley. Tight end Donald Parham is a restricted free agent and could return as the starting tight end.
Kellen Moore, the Chargers new offensive coordinator, may want to add a few players that he is familiar from his days as the offensive coordinator of Dallas Cowboys. Tight end Dalton Schultz, who played his college football at Stanford, is a free agent who caught 198 passes and had 17 touchdown receptions in the past three seasons playing for the Cowboys. Quarterback Cooper Rush and wide receiver Noah Brown are also unrestricted free agents from the Cowboys that might provide depth for the Chargers.
Without Keenan Allen, the Chargers starting wide receiver are Mike Williams and Josh Palmer, with very little depth behind them on the roster. Wide receiver should be a priority for the Chargers in the draft and a player like Zay Flowers out of Boston College would be a good first round pick for the Chargers. Flowers was a teammate at Boston College of Chargers right guard Zion Johnson, the team’s first round draft pick in 2022. Flowers is the type of explosive player that the Chargers need on the roster.
If the Chargers are unable to add Schultz to their roster, tight end will also become a priority in the draft. Dalton Kincaid of the Utah Utes, Luke Musgrave of the Oregon State Beavers, and Michael Mayer of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are among the best tight ends in college football and would be good additions to the Chargers roster. The 2023 NFL Draft will begin April 27th through April 29th and will be held in Kansas City, Missouri.