With the San Diego Chargers' front office on a rampage to trim the fat and cut any overpriced veteran or backup on the team, one has to wonder how safe it is to bet on Billy Volek being on the team in 2012.
Volek is thought of, and paid, as one of the best backup Quarterbacks in the NFL. He signed a two year contract to stay in San Diego, and his golfing buddy Philip Rivers, before 2011. The deal is worth $6 million total, and Billy is scheduled to make $2.75 million in base salary in 2012. As a comparison, Scott Tolzien (who spent preseason with the Chargers last year) is scheduled to make $465,000 in 2012.
According to our quick (and amateurish) calculations, we've estimated that the Chargers would save about $2.3 million if they were to release Volek this offseason. Replacing him with a late-round draft pick would eat up about $300k to $400k of those savings, but that still frees up about $2 million in cap space to throw at free agents.
Is it likely? Probably not. However, it might be the best course of actions. Norv Turner and A.J. Smith are hedging their jobs on this one season and the team wouldn't stand much of a chance if Philip Rivers were to get hurt anyway.
Also, it would be imprudent of me to forget to point out Rivers' track record of health. In six seasons as the Chargers' starting QB, Rivers has missed roughly one quarter of football (after tearing his ACL against the Colts). That was on January 13th, 2008. Murphy's Law says that he'd probably get seriously injured if Volek was replaced with a terrible rookie backup QB, but Murphy was an old drunk and we need not heed his warnings.