Los Angeles Chargers Release Linebacker Eric Kendricks To Create Much-Needed Cap Room

Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Eric Kendricks
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The new Los Angeles Chargers brass knows that it has a lot of work to do between now and the start of NFL free agency.

Los Angeles finds itself over the 2024 NFL salary cap and must become compliant before the new league year opens in roughly a week.

First-year general manager Joe Hortiz and Co. started that process on Tuesday by announcing the release of veteran linebacker Eric Kendricks.

“A team captain in 2023, Kendricks started 14-of-15 games played with the Chargers after signing last offseason. He ranked second on the team with 117 tackles (79 solo), marking his eighth-straight season with at least 100 defensive stops. Kendricks added 3.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss, six passes defensed and a forced fumble,” Los Angeles Chargers statement on Kendricks’ release.

While Kendricks’ generic numbers were good in his only season with the Chargers, he strugged in pass coverage. The former Minnesota Vikings All-Pro yielded a 79.7% completion and 101.8 QB rating when targeted. By making this move, Los Angeles also saves a solid $6.5 million against the 2024 salary cap.

Related: Los Angeles Chargers Free Agent Targets, Defensive Line

Release Of Eric Kendricks Should Not Come As Surprise For Los Angeles Chargers Fans

los angeles chargers release erick kendricks
Credit: Tork Mason / USA TODAY NETWORK

A third-round pick of the Chargers out of Washington State last year, Daiyan Henley could very well get a look as a starter this offseason. He recorded 16 tackles in limited action a season ago.

Los Angeles could also go the NFL free agent route to find a replacement for Kendricks. There are potential upgrades to be had in that of former Pro Bowlers Devin White (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Patrick Queen (Baltimore Ravens). Both might fit new defensive coordinator Jesse Minter’s scheme better than Kendricks. It will be all about price point.

For the Chargers, this is not the end of their cost-cutting moves. The expectation is that wide receiver Mike Williams and edge rusher Khalil Mack will be released ahead of the new league year. Those two moves would save Los Angeles $43.25 million against the cap.