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Cut Him or Keep Him?: Atari Bigby, Strong Safety

Atari Bigby had an up-and-down season with the San Diego Chargers that was filled with big plays, missed tackles, blown coverage and injuries. Will he be kept in 2013?


There are quite a few players on the San Diego Chargers roster that have contracts but will be in danger of being released by the team before the 2013 season begins. Some of these are due to a changing in philosophy, some are due to contracts that were drawn up to almost force the team to release the player and some will simply be viewed at as "addition by subtraction".

We'll be going through all, or at least most of, these players on the roster and letting you vote on whether or not the team should cut or keep the player. We're starting with Atari Bigby, aka The Missle, who was the starting Strong Safety through much of the 2012 season for the San Diego Chargers.

Bigby signed a two-year deal with the Chargers before the 2012 season, worth $2.5 million. The first year of the deal paid him $1 million and the second year would pay him $1.5 million if the team decides to keep him.

Why more money in the second year than the first? Well, it's simple really. If Bigby was good enough in the first year to keep the starting job, he would be worth the money of a "proven starter" the second season. If he lost the job to Brandon Taylor, which many expected and thought should've happened, the team would be able to cut ties before the contract got too expensive.

Let's math.

  • If the San Diego Chargers cut Atari Bigby before the season, he will account for $150,000 against the 2013 salary cap*.
  • If the San Diego Chargers keep Atari Bigby for the 2013 season, he will account for $1,650,000 against the 2013 salary cap*.

It comes down to if the team would rather pay Atari $150k to walk away or pay him $1.65 mil to stick around and contribute to the team.

In 2012, Bigby started 11 games at Strong Safety for the Chargers before going on Injured-Reserve with a groin injury. Chances are that he'll be 100% again by the Fall, but his history of injuries has made him an illegitimate candidate for a starting job in the NFL. He was also poor in pass coverage and missed many tackles over the course of the season.

Is his price-tag worth it for a backup Safety and Special Teamer? Probably not, but Brandon Taylor's ACL injury means that the backup Safety role might be difficult to fill otherwise. What say you, BFTBers? Cut him or keep him?

*These figures were taken from Spotrac, who have a $500k bonus for 2013 listed only as "Miscellaneous". That could be anything from a bonus he gets for a certain number of starts to a bonus for simply making the team. Either way, the bonus most likely would not count against the Chargers' 2013 cap if Bigby were released.