Earlier today, we talked about the San Diego Chargers possibly signing a free agent Offensive Tackle to replace Jared Gaither and/or Jeromey Clary (who are both under contract through at least 2013). That led to the question.....should the San Diego Chargers cut Clary or not? That's what we're here to find out.
Jeromey's contract is pretty straight forward. He got a big signing bonus (about one-third of the overall contract size) and the salary goes up every year. That's going to put him on the chopping block towards the end of the deal.
In 2013, he would cost the team $4 million in real money and $5.7 million in cap space if he stays on the team. If he were to be released, the team would take a cap hit of $3.4 million. That's a savings of $4 million in cash and $2.3 million in cap space if Clary is cut.
The real question is whether or not Jeromey Clary is overpaid, and the real answer is that he would be in 2013. However, the Chargers knew when they signed Clary to this deal that either he would improve before 2013 (and then be worth the high pay) or they would cut him and replace him with someone else. What neither party counted on was that Clary would reach the half-way point on his deal without any reliable replacement in sight.
I quickly went over this early, but here are Clary's grades from Pro Football Focus for the last few seasons (as per usual, higher numbers are better and 0 is "average"):
- 2009: 11.3 overall (29th) / 3.9 pass block / -0.5 screen block / 5.8 run block / 2.1 penalty
- 2010: -2.0 overall (43rd) / -2.5 pass block / 0.5 screen block / -2.0 run block / 2.0 penalty
- 2011: -23.7 overall (73rd) / -12.8 pass block / -0.5 screen block / -6.9 run block / -3.5 penalty
- 2012: 4.8 overall (38th) / -1.4 pass block / 1.0 screen block / -0.7 run block / 5.9 penalty
That 2011 season was really, really rough for Clary. Outside of that, he's been solid. When you consider that he's been in the top 40 three out of the last four years, then add in that there are 64 starting Tackles in the league, you can see why I respond to Clary's critics by saying "He's not a bad Tackle, he's an average Tackle."
So, what are the Chargers to do? Replace Gaither and keep Clary? Or should they try to find two above-average Tackles in the same offseason? That seems like a pretty big risk, if you ask me.