How The Los Angeles Chargers Can Escape Salary Cap Hell

Credit: Yannick Peterhans-USA TODAY Sports

In addressing the Los Angeles Chargers‘ offseason strategy to overcome a challenging salary cap situation, here’s a concise breakdown of the proposed moves to not only achieve cap compliance but also to strategically position the team for the upcoming season and beyond:

Los Angeles Chargers Starting -$45 Million Over The Cap


  • Justin Herbert ($3.9m in savings): Restructuring Herbert’s contract to convert a portion of his upcoming salary into a bonus could significantly reduce his cap hit for this year, providing immediate relief.
  • Derwin James ($7.5m): Similar to Herbert, adjusting James’ contract terms to spread his cap impact over the remaining years can offer the Chargers more flexibility in the short term.
NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Arizona Cardinals
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


  • Corey Linsley ($8.9m): With Linsley’s retirement due to medical reasons, this move becomes a non-decision for the Chargers, naturally freeing up his cap space.
  • Khalil Mack ($23.2m): Releasing Mack, despite his on-field production, is a tough but necessary decision to manage the cap effectively, freeing up a substantial amount of space.
Syndication: The Tennessean
Credit: Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK


  • Joey Bosa ($14m): Trading Bosa could alleviate the Chargers of his significant cap figure, potentially bringing back valuable assets or draft capital while saving cap space. Although it might not be an easy decision to trade the once-franchise cornerstone, this would free up even more money that would increase if done post-June 1st ($22m).
  • Mike Williams ($20m): Moving Williams not only offers cap relief but also could return critical resources to the team in terms of players or picks, he’s got some trade value, but his injury history could scare some teams. Williams is less likely to be moved and his cap number stays the same post June 1st. The Chargers would likely only have to trade one of the two in this section but in this scenario let’s say they get rid of both.
NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals
Los Angeles Chargers Target Chidobe Awuzie in FA: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Chargers Ending Cap Space: $34 Million

By implementing these moves, the Los Angeles Chargers should be able to transform a daunting $44 million cap deficit into a positive cap space of $34 million, a $78 million swing. This restructuring of the cap allows for:

  • Signing Rookie Class: Ensuring the Chargers can bring in their drafted rookies without cap constraints.
  • Exploring Free Agency: Providing the opportunity to add strategic pieces through free agency to address roster needs. Adding some budget-free agents similar to what the Rams do every year would be beneficial.
  • Retaining Key Veterans: Offering the flexibility to keep essential players like Keenan Allen, ensuring the team remains competitive in key positions.