Chargers 2023 Roster Thoughts: Opening Final Roster and Practice Squad

Here is a list of my posts this offseason:

It's been a few months, so I want to revisit the roster and salary cap situation now that we are past final cuts. I realize this format is somewhat repetitive of some of my other posts, but I wanted to update all of the data to current.

53 Man Roster

Here is the 53 man roster, along with the cap hits of the players:

I noted my source as either Over the Cap or Spotrac or both, where they were identical. Most of the differences here were minimal, but there was one big difference. For Ekeler, OTC has not accounted for the incentives the Chargers added to his contract this season, but Spotrac has. Those incentives that are Likely To Be Earned (LTBE) added $1.35M to his cap number for 2023.

Practice Squad

Here is the practice squad as of today:

To be conservative, I am counting the 17th position, even though it isn't filled yet.

Practice Squad Activations

The CBA allows 2 practice squad players to be activated every week. Those players get paid at NFL minimum salary level for each week they are activated.

The Chargers activated practice squad players a total of 28 times in the 2022 season. I will round that up to 2 players per regular season game to be conservative for this projection, for a total of 34 activations. I assumed that each of the 17 PS positions will be activated twice.

I calculated the difference between active minimum salary and minimum practice squad salary per game in cap hit per activation. For 34 activations, that is $939,867.


There are two players currently on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list:

Reserve/Injured Reserve

Both sources show that 3 players are currently on IR:

Dead Cap Money

This is the dead cap money at this time:

OTC doesn't list many of the details but gives the total shown at the bottom. So it isn't clear exactly what makes up that remaining balance. That said, the Chargers transaction page shows a few transactions not recognized here under IR or dead money:

  • On 8/30, the Chargers placed T Matt Kaskey on Reserve/Injured and subsequentially reached an injury settlement.
  • On 8/30, the Chargers placed WR Darrius Shepherd on Reserve/Injured. I'm guessing they may have reached an injury settlement with him.
  • On 8/31, the Chargers reached an injury settlement with ILB Blake Lynch.

Injury Replacements

The team will also need to reserve some cap space for 2023 in season injury replacements.

I don't know for sure how the team thinks about this and plans for it, but suppose 6 players get hurt and are out for the season at some point. Not an unreasonable number since the Chargers already had at least 6 players on IR or the NFI list before their first game in 2022, and we know it got worse from there. Suppose 2 of them go down with 2/3 of the season left, 2 with half the season left, and 2 with 1/3 of the season left. That means the team would need 6 replacement players who would be active for the equivalent of 3 full seasons... and they also have to pay the 6 injured players. $3M is just a guess. It could be higher, so it may not be conservative enough.

On the other hand, we are already accounting for 2 players on PUP and 3 players on IR, so it may be that some of the $3M I normally assume is already in play.

2023 Salary Cap Charges

Based on everything above, here is a projection of the Chargers 2023 salary cap charges:

Functional Cap Space

The Chargers don't have a lot to work with at this point:

That said, there is probably a bit of double counting going on at the moment. Assuming Guyton and Ogbonnia eventually come off of PUP and onto the 53 man active roster, two players currently on the roster will have to be waived (unless other players have gone on IR). That means they will not pay the full salaries of those two players that are being counted here. So the functional cap space is probably a bit better than shown here.

The Chargers also have various options to clear more 2023 salary cap space if they have a reason to do so, by extending or restructuring one or more player contracts. There is no reason to believe they will do that, but the option is there if they need it.


IMO this just shows another data point supporting the idea that the Chargers are "all in" this season. They have spent about as much as they reasonably could on this roster, and it is seemingly a complete roster, with only a couple weaknesses (TE depth, OT depth).

Just wanted to post this update so people have a feeling for where things stand cap-wise.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Bolts From The Blue community and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bolts From The Blue editors or SB Nation.