When it comes to researching article topics, I tend to go back through the archives of my website and look at ideas that I have had in years past. This morning, at 2:00 am, I ran across a scathing article I wrote about the laziness of former Charger offensive tackle Jared Gaither. I then remembered that he is still being paid by the Bolts in 2014.
He is not the only one.
Dead money contracts are those that count against the team’s salary cap despite the fact that the players are no longer on the squad. When I list the players that are still getting paid, I guarantee your blood will boil when you look at some of the names. The amounts of their pay will elevate that level of frustration, as well.
For the sake of this article, I am only going to include the players that are being paid over $100,000 without providing any services to the Chargers at all at this time. They are no longer with the team; in fact, a couple haven’t been on the team for over a year or two.
Let’s start at the bottom — lowest paid non-Chargers — and work our way up to the top, the highest paid.
DL – Lawrence Guy $100,588
WR – Vincent Brown $146,517
S – Brandon Taylor $168,469
CB – Brandon Ghee $185,000
RB – Shaun Draughn $201,176
LB – Jonas Mouton $218,340
DB – Richard Marshall $570,000
FB – Le’Ron McClain $833,334
LB – Larry English $865,000
WR – Robert Meachem $ 3,750,000
CB – Derek Cox $3,900,000
OT – Jared Gaither $4,000,000
Total amount of dead money from the aforementioned NON-CHARGERS: $14,938,424
Go ahead and let that sink in as you look at a Charger team that has been decimated by injuries. The same organization that was completely unable to make any moves prior to the trade deadline to supplement a beat-up roster. Thanks a lot, that one guy who used to be the GM here.
The total amount of dead money, including players that are not listed above, is $15,436,212.
When it comes to getting rid of and cutting poor performers or bad contracts, it’s a very difficult decision. But when a player is unable to contribute at a serviceable or acceptable level, the time to cut ties is necessary. Three of the top-four highest paid non-Bolts have played for other teams in 2014; Meachem, Cox and English. Robert Meachem is the only one that is currently on an NFL roster of those four.
Talk about a kick in the pants.
The last General Manager left Tom Telesco in a rough spot when it comes to navigating the roster and its lack of cap space. The 2015 season brings Telesco a much better opportunity to make some moves and re-sign some of his marquee players to long-term extensions; namely Philip Rivers and Eric Weddle.
Every team in the NFL has to deal with matters such as what is listed above. But it goes without saying that the Chargers were forced to make some tough decisions when cutting the players listed. But, perhaps, cutting non-performing players like Gaither, Cox, Meachem and English were actually simple decisions that came at a heavy price. At least a few of the players noted actually played for San Diego in 2014. The same can’t be said for some of the bums that made the list.
Thanks a lot for reading. Which of these players frustrated you the most due to the money they made without having contributed to the cause in 2014? Let me know by leaving your thoughts below in the comment section.
Per the Chargers official website, Chargers.com, San Diego has made the 5 necessary moves to drop the roster count down to 75. The following 5 transactions were made just moments ago.
Placed on reserve/injured:
– CB Marcus Cromartie
– DE Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe
– NT Kwame Geathers
Placed on reserve/PUP list:
– G/T Jeromey Clary
– CB Brandon Ghee
With the exception of placing Geathers on IR, none of these moves come as a surprise. Though Tjong-A-Tjoe had a strong shot at the practice squad, once it was announced that he had suffered a torn ACL which everyone knew would end his year.
Losing Geathers is a serious cause for concern. In typical Mike McCoy fashion, the injury was initially downplayed as not too serious. I actually like that about him, by the way. I am sure there are very few of you that agree with that.
The injuries and lack of depth along the defensive line are certainly an area that must be addressed. All 32 NFL teams are about to have to trim their rosters to 53 players this Saturday on August 30th.
You better believe that Tom Telesco and company are ready to mend a unit that is in dire need of such help.
Thanks a lot for reading.
On Tuesday, June 24, the Chargers announced the signing of free agent cornerback Brandon Flowers. He was released by division rival Kansas City in a salary cap move. Releasing Flowers saved the Chiefs over seven million in cap space and put a need position player in play for all who were interested.
According to reports, ten teams were interested in Flowers including the Patriots, Ravens, Steelers, Vikings and Falcons. Flowers made two trips, a two-day stay in San Diego and a visit to San Francisco. During his visit, Flowers cancelled his visit to Minnesota.
However, Flowers visit came and went in San Diego without a deal being reached. In the end, Brandon signed a one-year, five million dollar deal (3 million guaranteed, with a chance for two million more in incentives) to play with the Chargers. I love this signing for a number of reasons.
1. The Chargers did not break the bank to sign him. Talk around the league was Flowers was asking too much and that’s why other teams backed away. The Chargers didn’t have much bank to break with under three million in cap space at the beginning of the day yesterday leading most to believe adding Flowers would be next to impossible. The Bolts did release safety Brandon Taylor last week and a couple more will likely see their tenure in lightning bolts end but wunderkind General Manager Tom Telesco found a way to make the numbers work.
2. The Chargers add a Pro Bowl player at a position of need. All Chargers fans know the secondary has been a weak spot on the defense for years. The numbers bear it out, the Chargers were 29th in pass defense last season and for near the bottom for many seasons prior. Brandon Flowers played on Team Rice in last season’s fantasy style Pro Bowl after a season in Kansas City where he logged 68 tackles, 8 passes defensed one sack and one interception during the regular season. In the Chiefs lone playoff game he had two passes defensed and an interception. Flowers was a six-year starter for the Chiefs and has been a top-10 cornerback in the league from 2007-2012. Metrics-wise, last season was a down year for him and he still made the Pro Bowl.
3. The Chargers will have money to spend next offseason. With the last of the bad contracts coming off the books this season, the Chargers will have over 30 million in cap space to sign players. This places the onus on players on one year deals like Flowers or who are in the last year of their deals such as Mathews, Freeney and Woodhead to perform knowing if they show up and play great ball all season, they will be rewarded with long-term deals next offseason. Telesco has the season to evaluate their performances and make the best decisions personnel-wise. With that in mind, barring injury, we should see Flowers at his Pro Bowl caliber self this season and in a Chargers uniform for years to come.
4. Depth. The Chargers have eleven cornerbacks on their 90 man roster. Right now, right cornerback is returning fifth round draft pick Steve Williams, Richard Marshall, Marcus Gilchrist, Brandon Jones and Brandon Ghee. At left cornerback the incumbents are Shareece Wright, Marcus Cromartie and first round draft pick Jason Verrett. Verrett is rehabbing from a shoulder injury and may miss some of training camp.
Flowers skill set fits the Chargers scheme like a glove. He’ll have to earn his spot in the starting rotation but his presence allows the Chargers to bring along Verrett at their own pace. Flowers will undoubtedly be in the starting lineup on day one of the regular season in my opinion. Add to the mix promising UDFA’s who are turning heads in camp such as ASU’s Alden Darby and Auburn’s Chris Davis and the Chargers finally have a surplus of cornerback talent instead of a deficit at the position.
5. Motivation. Aside from the potential long-term monetary gain next year, Flowers gets to stay in the AFC West and gain revenge on the team that dumped him, Kansas City. The Chargers have always had trouble with Chiefs number one wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and Flowers knows better than anyone how to cover him. He’s familiar with all the AFC West talent as the best cornerback on the Chiefs roster for six years, he’s usually charged with covering the other team’s best receiver. Add to the fact he gets a million dollar bonus if the team makes the AFC Championship game and Flowers has plenty of reason to be at his best this season.
Taking a strength from a division rival can’t be understated. The Chargers swept the Chiefs last season and taking their best cornerback widens the gap in talent between the two teams. At 28 years old, Flowers has plenty left to give and to teach to the young corners on the roster the Chargers will rely on in the future such as Verrett, Williams, Gilchrist and Wright. Flowers isn’t a veteran living off former glory. He played on the winning team in the Pro Bowl last season. The Chargers haven’t had a Pro Bowl cornerback since Antonio Cromartie in 2008. Flowers wasn’t pulled off the MASH unit of another team, he’s uninjured and ready to play. Flowers and is a plug and play addition to the roster and the secondary just improved greatly with him on the roster.
Are you excited to see Flowers in lightning bolts?
The Greg One
Good morning, BoltFam! I hope all is well with you and your loved ones. The Chargers invite the AFC North division leading Cincinnati Bengals to Qualcomm stadium for what is another must-win game for San Diego. I thought it would be cool to get an inside scoop from a solid Bengals writer. It didn’t take long for me to decide on who to approach for this interview.
Jason Marcum is the Senior Editor for StripeHype.com. He is a solid writer that is very knowledgeable about the Bengals and all of the NFL. I’d like to thank Jason in advance for taking the time to do this interview. When I received his answers back to my questions, it turns out that he had some questions of his own regarding an interview for his site.
Without further ado, here is my Q & A session with Jason Marcum of StripeHype.com.
1. All over Social media I see NFL fans and Bengals fans alike tearing up Andy Dalton. Although I see some of what they’re talking about when I’ve watched some of his games, he seems to put up good numbers. What’s the deal with Dalton?
JM: He’s far too inconsistent for their liking. He plays like an elite quarterback in October and wins the AFC Offensive player of the month, then can’t get out of his own way in November, throwing 8 interceptions in the past three games. He just needs to be more consistent and not play so erratic. If he can help lead the Bengals to an AFC North title, the fans will lighten-up on him.
2. We here at BoltBlitz were big supporters of Gio Bernard coming out of college. Tell us about how he is used in the offense and what the Charger defense will have to do to contain him.
JM: He looks just like Maurice Jones-Drew did in his rookie year. He’s a jitterbug that uses his low center of gravity to make even the best tacklers miss in space, and his addition has helped the Bengals offense become much more efficient in 2012. His 464 yards on just 104 carries and 42 receptions for 345 yards has kept the offense moving, even when Dalton has played poorly. He’ll likely begin to get more touches going forward as the games become more important. He’s going to be a star soon enough.
3. When I was a staff writer for a different site prior to starting BoltBlitz.com, I wrote that the Chargers should take a flyer on Vontaze Burfict in the 5th round. He, obviously, went undrafted. Talk about his role on the team and his impact on the field.
JM: He’s been the best defensive player for the Bengals this year. He’s got a nose for the football that helps him disrupt or make plays as often as a Bengals linebacker has since Takeo Spikes was still wearing stripes. He needs to improve his coverage skills though, and I’m worried Chargers tight ends Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green will expose that weakness.
4. The Bengal defense was so solid and then you lost both Geno Atkins and Leon Hall. How has the defense been performing since, and which players have been inserted in their places?
JM: Brandon Thompson has filled-in very well for Atkins, and his run defense has been arguably just as good. His pass-rushing ability isn’t as good, but Atkins is one of the best pass-rushing defensive tackles you’ll ever see.
As for Hall, it’s been more of a committee approach. Terence Newman and Adam Jones play most of the snaps at cornerback, while Brandon Ghee, Dre Kirkpatrick and Chris Crocker rotate into that nickelback spot.
It’s worth pointing out since Hall went down, the Bengals have faced the Jets, Dolphins, Ravens and Browns. Not exactly a murder’s row of passing attacks, and the loss of Hall could finally be exposed on Sunday against one of the NFL’s best passing offenses in San Diego.
5. Is there any way on God’s green Earth that the Chargers can stop A.J. Green? After a big game to start the season against Chicago, he had a run of average performances. He had more than his share of big games following that run too, but Cleveland managed to hold him to 7 yards receiving. What can teams do to limit Green?
JM: Yes. Just double-team him. He’ll get discouraged and not play as hard if he’s getting constantly double-teamed. It’s up to Dalton and the other receiver to force the Chargers out of those double-teams to free-up Green. Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu have to step-up and draw those Chargers DBs away from Green, or he’ll have another sub par performance.
6. Marvin Jones has had a solid year as an under-the-radar player. What kind of skill set does he bring to the table?
JM: He’s a good route-runner and can make some tough catches i traffic and around defenders. But he also is prone to dropping some easy passes that kills drives, and he’s still working to become a complete receiver. But he’s shown enough to make me believe he’ll eventually become a legitimate sidekick alongside Green.
7. Fill in the blank: For the Chargers to beat the Bengals they must_________________.
JM: Beat the blitz. The Bengals are going to bring the house against the Chargers banged-up offensive line. If Rivers can beat the blitz and hit the open man consistently, he’ll have a field day.
On defense, just pressure Dalton and keep Giovani Bernard contained. When the offense is reliant on Dalton’s arm, it struggles. They’re at their best when they’re ahead or within one score and can keep their run-pass ratio balanced.
8. I was an big fan of the Cincinnati 2012 draft class ( Dre Kirkpatrick, Kevin Zeitler, Devon Still, Mohamed Sanu, Brandon Thompson, Orson Charles, Shaun Prater, Marvin Jones, George Iloka ). Who has already stood out from that class and which player has the most upside?
JM: Iloka has really stood out. He’s really stepped-up and become a solid starting safety in his second season, and to get that kind of player in the fifth round is a nice steal.
I think Thompson has the highest upside. He’s playing great right now and should continue to develop more going forward for the reason’s mentioned previously.
9. Final question…. Give everyone your prediction for tomorrow’s game and why the victor will get the win?
JM: I’ve gone back-and-forth on this more than any game this year other than the Bears game, and that was the first game. 13 weeks later, I’m not real sure what to make of this game, but that’s more because of recent injuries to key players for both teams. Vontaze Burfict sprained his ankle in practice Friday and may not play. King Dunlap is probably out for you guys, meaning it will be even easier to pressure Rivers on Sunday. In the end, at home and playing for their playoff lives, I think San Diego pulls this one out late by a 27-24 score.
Thanks again to Jason and be sure to check out StripeHype.com for his interview with me regarding the game.