The San Diego Chargers just missed out on a playoff berth. They'll be in contention again next season, especially if they shore up the offensive line and plug some holes on defense. As long as Philip Rivers is playing well, they'll be a playoff contender.
Projected Salary Cap Space (via Spotrac):
1. Cornerback: Brandon Flowers is a free agent and Shareece Wright struggled. Jason Verett has potential and played well when healthy, but another option (or two if Flowers leaves) is needed.
2. Offensive guard: Chad Rinehart and Johnnie Troutman had rough seasons. The Chargers could use an upgrade. Jeromey Clary is a free agent, but struggled in 2013 and missed all of 2014 with an injury. Perhaps Jeremiah Sirles (very small sample size) can fill one of the starting spots.
3. Offensive tackle: King Dunlap was San Diego’s best lineman, but he’s a free agent.
4. Center: The Chargers used four players at center. They are all free agents. Seriously.
5. Defensive end: Kendall Reyes needs to be replaced as a starter.
6. Wide Receiver: Slot receiver Eddie Royal is a free agent.
7. Running back: Injury-prone Ryan Matthews is a free agent.
8. Tight end: Antonio Gates is aging and can’t block much anymore. He’s still a weapon as a receiver, but cutting him would save almost $6 million. If the Chargers cut him, they’ll need a backup to Ladarius Green.
Potential Cap Casualties:
TE Antonio Gates: potential savings of $5.9 million
OLB Jarret Johnson: potential savings of $5 million
OG Chad Rinehart: potential savings of $3.25 million
*All figures from Spotrac
RB Ronnie Brown
RB Ryan Matthews
WR Seji Ajirotutu
WR Eddie Royal
OT King Dunlap
OT Willie Smith
OG Jeromey Clary
C Nick Hardwick
C Doug Legursky
C Rich Ohrnberger
C Trevor Robinson (RFA)
DE Ricardo Matthews
MLB Andrew Gachkar
OLB Dwight Freeney
CB Brandon Flowers
CB Shareece Wright
S Marcus Gilchrist
P Mat McBriar
— Signed WR Austin Pettis