As expected, the LA Chargers released defensive tackle Brandon Mebane and linebacker Thomas Davis on Friday. The move saves the team $9.5 million in 2020 cap space and opens up two starting positions on the roster, places that could be held by the next generation of Chargers football. Which seems to be the theme thus far of the offseason for head coach Anthony Lynn and general manager Tom Telesco: out with the old, and let’s get in with the new and see how that works.
Davis (37 later this month) and Mebane (35 as of January) represented the two oldest members of the LA roster. That’s an average age of 36 being taken out of the plans for 2020, but that’s not all.
We also know that quarterback Philip Rivers (38) won’t be returning and a couple of weeks ago the team traded Russell Okung (33 in October) to the Carolina Panthers. The four oldest players on the team have now all exited and that may not be the end of it.
The oldest player on the roster now is tight end Virgil Green (32 in August) and I project him to be released eventually. The team saves $2.7 million by releasing him and they just placed the franchise tag on Hunter Henry. I believe they could get younger and cheaper in searching for Henry’s backup or TE2. The next two-oldest players from last season’s roster are tight end Lance Kendricks and defensive tackle Sylvester Williams, both of whom are free agents.
That leaves a group of seven players who were 30 last season:
Casey Hayward, Travis Benjamin, Dontrelle Inman, Melvin Ingram, Mike Pouncey, Damion Square, and Tyrod Taylor. Inman is long gone, Benjamin and Square are free agents. Pouncey’s ability to return from injury is questionable, Ingram could be a trade or cap casualty candidate. Perhaps only Tyrod and Hayward return to be 31-year-old players on the roster and they might be the oldest players on the roster.
And I’m not so sure we can guarantee Tyrod’s place as of mid-March, if I’m being cautiously realistic. (I believe he will, but I’m leaving the exit door open.)
They may also be adding some other over-30 players eventually but that does not seem to be the focus right now as the team seems to be looking beyond just next season.