The news is coming straight from the horses mouth himself.
Donald Butler (@DAButler56) March 3, 2016
I'm sure Butler is a great guy and we all wish him the best of luck moving forward. It just wasn't working out on the field and he increasingly saw his playing time diminish. By seasons end Butler was lucky to see the field on defense. The play of rookie Denzel Perryman made this an easy decision for the Chargers.
Playing the same position— KP (@The_KP_Show) October 20, 2015
1 game, 30 snaps: Perryman-8 tackles, 5 stops, 2 TFLs.
5 games, 222 snaps: Butler-17 tackles, 4.5 stops, 2 TFLs.
Butler showed flashes early in his career but never really put it together. I never thought he was as good as fans made him out to be back then. Butler lacked effort and you just can't have that mentality playing in the middle of the defense.
As expected, Chargers have released ILB Donald Butler. Finished last year as backup and was due $4.65M base salary.— Michael Gehlken (@sdutGehlken) March 3, 2016
#Chargers will carry about $6.7M in dead money for Butler. Contract within a contract and he didnt even make it through the first part of it— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) March 3, 2016
From a salary cap perspective, the team eats $4.63 million, gain $4.65 in base salary. Most importantly if he was kept this year he would've been owed a $12 million option bonus. This move was going to happen, it was more of a "when." Many thought it wouldn't be until June 1st because it would be "cheaper" to cut him.
Chargers released Donald Butler without post-June 1 designation. For salary cap, he counts $6.69M in 2016 dead money. Off books in 2017.— Michael Gehlken (@sdutGehlken) March 3, 2016
By cutting him pre-June 1st, Butler costs the team $6.69 million in dead money this year. He had three years left on his contract, and his prorated signing bonus is $2.23 million per year. So because he's being cut before June 1st, the last 3 years of his signing bonus all count in 2016. Had he been cut after June 1st, his signing bonus would have counted $2.23 million in 2016, and $4.46 million in 2017. This just means after this year, he's off the books.
I look at it as an addition by subtraction move. What do you think, was it smarter to release Butler now or wait until June 1st?