Football Outsiders is out and doing Division by Division looks at the salary cap and how it affects each team around the league.
To see about the entire AFC West – click HERE
Here’s the Bolts breakdown, and some of the background on how they think things will play out for the team.
Estimated Cap Space: Between $9 and $10 million
Unrestricted Free Agents (16): Stephen Cooper, Patrick Crayton, Na’il Diggs, Jared Gaither, Antonio Garay, Steve Gregory, Nick Hardwick, Tommie Harris, Jacob Hester, Vincent Jackson, Randy McMichael, Tony Moll, Scott Mruczkowski, Paul Oliver, Bob Sanders, Mike Tolbert
Restricted Free Agents (2): Brandyn Dombrowski, Kory Sperry
After a season on the Chargers’ practice squad, Dombrowski, an undrafted free agent out of San Diego State, has been a key reserve offensive lineman over the last three seasons, starting 15 of 47 games. With four offensive linemen ticketed for unrestricted free agency, an “original round/right of first refusal” tender at $1.26 million is a possibility.
Franchise Tag Candidate: The Chargers used the franchise tag in 2011 on wide receiver Vincent Jackson at a cost of $11.424 million. Jackson validated that with a strong season, ranking 14th in DYAR and 19th in DVOA. To use a second tag on Jackson would cost the Chargers $13.709 million, a 20 percent increase over his 2011 salary number.
Potential Cap Casualties/Restructures: Left tackle Marcus McNeill’s $10.5 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed on March 13. Coming off a season-ending neck injury, McNeill will likely be released before that happens, clearing $6.6 million in cap space. Left guard Kris Dielman is leaning towards playing in 2012 after a concussion, and subsequent seizure, ended his 2011 season and nearly sent him into retirement. Dielman is due $5.5 million in total compensation –- a $4.5 million base salary and has a $1 million roster bonus –- that the Chargers may seek to reduce. Defensive end Luis Castillo missed most of 2011 with a broken leg and is due $4.975 million in total compensation that the Chargers may seek to restructure.