The San Diego Chargers will enter this offseason with a number of free agents they'd like to re-sign. They also have positions they'd either like to overhaul or upgrade. That kind of roster work requires cap room and roster space. In order to get some of that there may some players that the Chargers need to cut ties with a little sooner than their contracts would dictate. Let's take a look at 6 of these players. First up is...
Ever since Jamal Williams' started to disappear from the Chargers lineup, Castillo has been a stalwart on the line. That is until this season when a September injury effectively ended his year. His starting job was given to the promising Vaughn Martin, who didn't exactly steal the job but showed he was good enough to handle it. With Castillo set to count for over $5 million against the cap in 2012 (including a $1M roster bonus) and is signed through 2014 with salaries of $4.4 million and $4.9 million in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Cutting him would free up some of that money to keep or sign players that represent more of an upgrade than what Castillo is to Martin.
Presumably, LaBoy became a Charger because ex-Chargers Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky was familiar with him from San Francisco. However, Manusky has now been canned and LaBoy didn't not have a very productive year. The Chargers could save about $1.3M if they cut him and use that roster space on somebody younger and cheaper.
Like LaBoy, Spikes moved from San Francisco to San Diego following his defensive coordinator. One could assume that you can use the same logic to predict Spikes' exit. However, Spikes is and always was a better player than LaBoy. He's a team leader and he has some good years left in him. Some depth at the ILB position would benefit him greatly. That being said, the team could save about $2.1 million if they gave him his walking papers.
When the Bolts cut David Binn last year Jammer became the longest tenured Charger. Back in 2006 he signed a 6 year, $30.8 million extension that will terminate after the 2012 season. The team owes him $4M next season if they keep him. Personally, I think he can bounce back and be productive for another year so I'd like him to stay. However, it might be better to cut ties a year before he becomes a free agent and use the money saved on someone that can help in 2012 and beyond.
Like Jammer, Phillips is on the last year of his contract. He signed a 6 year, $31 million contract that owes him $4.4 million in 2012. He's coming off a season where injuries reduced his effectiveness such that he posted the lowest sack total of his career. The team could be looking to address the pass rush with long term answers in the draft and/or free agency. Phillips probably still has some good years in him, but with only one of those years being under contract, and some cap savings possible, the team has a choice to make.
The 2009 1st round pick has 2 years left on his contract and both of them are very cheap compared to anyone else mentioned year. The cap hit the team would take would cancel out any savings on salary. This would simply be a way to save a roster spot. The Chargers were in a similar situation with Buster Davis not that long ago and they elected to keep him for one more year when he was in English's situation. Will the Chargers do things differently this time?
All salary data used was researched using Rotoworld.com.