Jeromey Clary has been much maligned during his career with the Chargers, and most of it has been deserved; although, some of this criticism could be attributed to hyperbolic fan overreaction (Sidebar: This has been true of some players during most and/or part of their Charger career. See: Quentin Jammer, Jacob Hester, Eric Weddle, et al.).
Lately though, there has been a loud clamor demanding that Clary be released by the Chargers. This is mainly due to his high salary ($4,550,000 in base salary and $1,700,000 in his pro-rated signing bonus, which adds up to a total cap figure of $6,250,000). When most look at the big money that Clary is making, they think it’s ludicrous and beyond all reason. Some look at the advanced metrics and see how low Clary was ranked by Pro Football Focus or others and wonder how he is worth that salary and why he is still currently a Charger and the 4th highest paid one, at that.
Well, the Chargers obviously have a different line of thinking that most fans. Currently and as of now, they must deem him worthy of the aforementioned salary, for they have yet to "renegotiate," nor cut him from the roster. And let me clarify in advance to avoid any notion that I am "appealing to authority" here; I do not necessarily agree, nor condone, nor concur with their view; I am just tiring of the continual onslaught and tumult for Clary’s position on this team to be no more. After a few comments on nearly every thread on BFTB, it becomes tiresome rather quickly.
I do think I may understand why they may be keeping Clary at his current deal (although, Tom Telesco did say that there may very well be more veteran restructures forthcoming—in short, "there are a lot of moving parts."). Here are some of the things that Clary does provide for the Chargers:
- Leadership. Apparently, he is well liked in the locker room and has a positive presence.
- Continuity. There is a lot of talk about how much continuity helps O-Line play and maybe since Ryan Mathews had a career year last year, the Chargers may want to keep the line as stable as they can.
- Flexibility. In terms of position. He played mostly at RG last year, but also played a RT when Fluker went down and also when Fluker played at LT.
- Stability. This may very well be the main reason he is still on the team at his current salary. Clary seemingly is always on the field. This isn’t necessarily true of any of the other starters (aside from Fluker, who only has one year under his belt thus far) on the line. Clary has started 96 out of the 106 he has played in (10 of which was his 2nd year and he wasn’t active at all his rookie year). Over the last 6 seasons, (according to my math) he has missed only 9 games due to injury in the regular season. This includes 2009 when he was placed on IR.
- Toughness. He plays hurt an awful lot (see above).
- Known quantity. There is that old adage that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. The Chargers know what they have in Clary, as a player and as a person. This is not going to be true of most free-agent pick-ups. They know how hard he works and how he fits in in terms of scheme, play, and personality. This doesn't always turn out to be true with free-agents (see: Derek Cox, Robert Meachem, David Boston, etc.).
While you and I may not agree with the Chargers and their current decision making in regards to Clary, they seem to be staying the course with him and his contract (again, please do not read into what I am saying here and just assume that I think that the Chargers are always correct with their choices because they are the team. Obviously, that would be a huge misnomer. One would just need to look at Derek Cox to see that they do indeed make mistakes and therefore aren’t always right). So, while you may not agree with Clary being the 4th highest paid player on the Chargers, sometimes some decisions go beyond the numbers.