Fantasy Football

Chargers Salary Cap Issues Force Player Overhaul

Justin Herbert

The 2024 NFL Salary cap is set at $255.4 million, an increase of $30.6 million from the previous season ($224.8 million). With the official number locked in, the Los Angeles Chargers entered the offseason $22.1 million over the cap and had several high-profile players who needed new contracts. As a result, the Chargers will look completely different in 2024 and focus on the NFL Draft to bring in fresh blood in what some call a “soft rebuild.”

Players Gone

  • WR Mike Williams released
  • WR Keenan Allen was traded to the Bears
  • RB Austin Ekeler signed with Commanders
  • LB Kenneth Murray
  • TE Gerald Everett

New Additions

  • Gus Edwards
  • FS Alohi Gilman
  • TE Will Dissly

Spring cleaning was obviously overdue, and those who had been paying attention to the dreadful salary cap situation knew this news shouldn’t come as a shock. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Two players that were rumored to be on the trading block, Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack, agreed to new contract restructuring, remaining with the Chargers. Bosa took a pay cut from $22 million to $15 million, guaranteed his salary, and can still earn back $4 million through sack incentives. At the same time, Mack’s salary was reduced from $23.25 million to $19 million and cannot be franchise-tagged in 2025.

The LA Chargers hold the 6th overall pick in this year’s upcoming NFL Draft. The Chargers, who now need wide receiver talent, will have some exciting options available to them. Current NFL betting lines have WR Marvin Harrison Jr. (-1600) as the first wide receiver off the draft board. Most mock drafts have Harrison going to the Arizona Cardinals with the 4th overall pick. Rome Odunze from the Washinton Huskies and Malik Nabers from the LSU Tigers are excellent wide receiver prospects; I’m confident the Chargers will pick one to fill the WR void.

The Chargers also added head coach Jim Harbaugh this offseason. Harbaugh led the University of Michigan to a national championship earlier this year. Harbaugh, 60, received an offer from Michigan that would have made him the highest-paid coach in college football, but he chose to return to the NFL and lead the Chargers.

“Jim Harbaugh is football personified, and I can think of no one better to lead the Chargers forward,” Chargers owner and chairman of the board Dean Spanos said in a statement. “The son of a coach, brother of a coach and father of a coach who himself was coached by names like [Bo] Schembechler and [Mike] Ditka, for the past two decades Jim has led hundreds of men to success everywhere he’s been — as their coach. And today, Jim Harbaugh returns to the Chargers, this time as our coach. Who has it better than us?”

Fantasy Impact

I believe Austin Ekeler To Commanders was the most disappointing signing throughout NFL Free Agency. Jim Harbaugh loves to run the ball, and I thought the combination would boost Ekeler’s fantasy stock. But that was a pipe dream. Ekeler isn’t the sort of north and south runner that this new coaching staff prefers, which makes the signing of Gus Edwards very interesting. The team may add another RB through the NFL Draft, but as of now, Edwards has become the lead dog in what most expect to be a run-first offense.

Justin Herbert’s Fantasy stock has seen better days. However, a new system and younger wide receiver talent could be a blessing in disguise. I’m excited to see what moves the Chargers make with their nine draft picks.

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