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San Diego Chargers Free Agent Signings and a Salary Cap Update

Everyone have a good day yesterday? I know I was glued to my Twitter feed all day Tuesday and yesterday. These last few days have had the kind of excitement and anticipation that comes with Draft day. That's exactly what it feels like, the Free Agent Draft.

Yesterday's signings of Jared Gaither, Jarret Johnson, and Le'Ron McClain all came without contract details, so we couldn't get a feel for how cap-friendly their contracts are. Well, the numbers finally came out this morning:

Okay, not too bad. Gaither's contract is a bit more than I was expecting. I can live with McClain's salary.

Again, Gaither got quite a bit more than I had expected, but who knows how many other teams he had talked to. Let's just hope he can live up to his contract.

After the jump, let's take a look at the Salary Cap situation.

As we know from John Gennaro's story yesterday, the Chargers had just over $16 million in cap space with which to work yesterday.

Let's break down the new contracts and see how much cap space is left.

Player Base Salary Signing Bonus Contract Length 2012 Cap Hit
Jared Gaither $1 mil $8 mil 4 year $3 mil
Jarret Johnson $1 mil $6 mil 4 year $2.5 mil
Le'Ron McClain $2.75 mil - 3 year $2.75 mil
Total $8.25 mil

This of course assumes no signing bonus for Le'Ron McClain. But even if we assume he got, say, a $3 million signing bonus and a $1 million base salary this year, his cap hit would only go down $750k. So until we hear otherwise, I'll just break up his contract evenly.

Where does that leave the San Diego Chargers and their salary cap? Well, take the $16.065 million in cap space John figured the team had yesterday, take out the $8.25 million in new contracts, and we're left with $7.815 million in cap room.

Take off the $1.5-3.0 million needed to sign the drafted rookies. And that leaves about $4.815-6.315 million left in cap space to sign Free Agents. That's assuming AJ and Dean want to spend all the way to the cap. But since AJ is cheap, we know that's not going to happen. [/sarcasm]

Who's left that should be signed? Jacob Hester? Mike Tolbert? At this point, I could see Hester coming back for cheap. Tolbert is a crap-shoot at this point, the team may not be willing to pay him what he could get elsewhere (and I can't say I blame the Chargers in that case).

So the numbers seem straight-forward enough, right? Well, not so fast. Acee tweets:

So, one of us is apparently wrong. Since I have a problem admitting any faults, I shall end this story by saying, "Kevin, get some coffee, and check your numbers again."