Two years ago around this time Marcus McNeill was just beginning to set himself up for a long term contract. He would be offered a 1 year tender by the Chargers, which he refused to signed in order to hold out for a longer deal. That holdout carried into the regular season and McNeill missed the first five games of the 2010 season. However, he got (what was called) a long term contract that in theory totaled $48.98 million over 6 years. It was also reported that it contained $24.5 million in guaranteed money that included his 2011 and 2012 salary as well as a $1.791 million signing bonus.
Those reports were only partially true. As John Gennaro discussed yesterday, the Chargers don't have to pay all the money that was "guaranteed" to McNeill. In order for the 2012 salary to be guaranteed, the six year veteran left tackle needed to pass a physical by today. The two time Pro Bowl has a condition called spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spine, that was diagnosed a long time. Injuries worsen the condition and he's had multiple neck injuries over his career including a stinger this past season that forced him to go on injured reserve. Because of all this, passing a physical was a extremely unlikely and today Michael Gehlken tweets what we all we expecting:
Marcus McNeill will be released today before 1 p.m. PT, his agent says.— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) March 13, 2012
So, McNeill didn't pass his physical and the Chargers will save some cap room by releasing their long time blind side protector. The Chargers could choose to re-sign McNeill to a friendlier deal, but the more likely option is that they'll pursue Jared Gaither as his replacement due to McNeill's health concerns. The Chargers had a good run with Marcus and I'm sure both parties appreciate the time spent together, but this parting of ways had been coming for a while.