The new league year starts in less than a week, so teams must get under the spending cap before March 15th at 4 p.m. ET.
Chargers general manager Tom Telesco has begun to work on the team’s cap as they are over by about $20 million. Early Thursday morning, NFL Insider Field Yates of ESPN reported that the Chargers have restructured the contracts of receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.
They have freed up $14.3775 million and owe a little more than $6 million.
When a player’s contract is restructured, the money is added to future years. In this instance, Allen and Williams are only under contract until 2024, so their new cap numbers for that final year are Allen at $34.7 million and Williams at $32.4 million.
There are different ways the Chargers can get there. The obvious is cutting left guard Matt Feiler, which would free up $6.5 million. It would put the Chargers under the cap, but they need to free up more cap space before next week.
They still need to pay free agents, whether it is their own or from other teams, and they still have to pay their 2023 NFL Draft picks.
They could restructure their two highest-paid players, pass-rushing duo Joey Bosa at $31 million and Khalil Mack at $27.4 million.
As far as cut candidates, they could cut kicker Dustin Hopkins to free up $2.2 million or tight end Gerald Everett at $5.5 million. The Everett cut, as first thought, doesn’t seem likely because that would leave the team with just Tre’ McKitty and Stone Smartt at tight end. Everett is also coming off a strong year.
The Chargers still have some cap magic to work, but they began making moves. Going back to Allen restructuring his contract, Telesco has been saying that the veteran receiver wasn’t leaving for a while.
“Keenan Allen isn’t going anywhere,” Telesco said at the combine.
Telesco knows the team couldn’t afford to lose Allen with no replacement, especially with his connection on the field with quarterback Justin Herbert. He will just have to create cap space in other ways.
“It’s not tempting to me,” Telesco said after the season if it was tempting to move on from Allen. “Good players make money, and I would rather have a lot of good players on our roster than a lot of cap space.”