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How Khalil Mack’s contract affects the Chargers’ offseason

Did the Chargers hamstring the rest of their offseason by acquiring Mack?

Chicago Bears v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images

At first glance, the deal to acquire Khalil Mack from the Bears for just a 2022 second-round pick and a sixth in next year’s draft seems like an absolute heist. Truly almost too good to be true. However, the Chargers are reportedly taking on the entire remaining three years of his current contract, as well. Per Spotrac, Mack’s cap hits over the next three seasons will be $17.75 million, $22.9 million, and $23.25 million. However, the Chargers could potentially drop Mack’s 2022 hit to as little as $4.4 million. Even if it doesn’t get that low, you could fully expect the team to polish the numbers a bit between now and the start of the upcoming season.

But, for the sake of convenience, let’s say his 2022 cap hit stays the same. The Chargers’ cap space before the trade was sitting at $42,077,843. With Mack’s $17.75 million potentially staying put on the books, the Bolts would be left with roughly $24 million to spend. However, the team still needs to have money set aside for their incoming rookie class.

According to the math of The Athletic’s Daniel Popper, the Chargers will have ~$6,621,069 set aside for the rookies. That would put their remaining spending space at $17.706 million for the remainder of the offseason.

Again, all that math above is for the scenario in which the Charger aren’t able to restructure Mack’s current contract. If that truly is the case, they’ll be a bit pressed to make another impactful signing, especially if they are truly interested in grabbing one of the top free agent cornerbacks while also re-signing their priority in-house free agents such as Kyzir White and Justin Jones.

Another move the Chargers are seemingly expected to make is to cut offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga. If they do, they could gain an additional $10.75 million to spend elsewhere.

While the immediate outlook for the numbers doesn’t look all that sterling, you can assume the Chargers didn’t make this type of move without knowing how they were going to handle Mack’s contract. We can surely expect some things to be moved around as I couldn’t imagine the Chargers believing they’re entire offseason could be given a passing grade simply by acquiring a 31-year edge rusher, no matter who it is.