Prior to every season, the Los Angeles Chargers and nearly every other team in the National Football League will be forced to make roster decisions based on the salary cap and because the average fan does not give that much thought to the cap they will be surprised to see a player cut who they thought would definitely be on the team come September. The odds are that we will be unable to correctly predict that player, but this is what we do in late May. For instance, last year we predicted that defensive lineman Sean Lissemore would be the surprise cut.
Surprise cut means not just some guy everyone already expects is definitely gone like Trevor Robinson last season. It has to be someone that has an actual role on the team that there is a real reason to think the team would not want to move on from, but for cap reasons it makes sense.
With that in mind, this year’s surprise cut is most likely to be, in my opinion, safety and special teams ace Darrell Stuckey. He is a valuable veteran presence and key contributor on kick coverage. However, the Chargers have a new coaching staff that is not attached to him in any particular way. Also, Anthony Lynn has specifically cited how poor last year’s special teams were and that jobs are available to be won.
Perhaps more importantly cutting Stuckey would free up nearly three million dollars in cap space. That is a valuable amount of cap space and it almost certainly exceeds the value that Darrell Stuckey provides on the field (or in the locker room or any other place for that matter).
Tom Telesco tends to like to give his veteran players plenty of time to latch on with another team, so I would expect that Stuckey would be an earlier cut than he might otherwise be in the process just based on his ability to make the team on a purely football level.
If you want a really interesting name, though, Corey Liuget would be an intriguing cut for a team that is in transition on the defensive side of the ball with the hiring of Gus Bradley as the defensive coordinator. And Liuget has been thoroughly underwhelming for a few years now.