The Chargers will let some big names go for certain, they will also look to restructure plenty of contracts as they look to get under the cap first and foremost, and then become a player in the market which may include big names such as David Boston and Peerless Price.
The first date to watch is March 1. That's when free agency is slated to begin and when first roster bonuses are due. Teams that have the option of voiding large contracts can do so at or around this time. Expect to see players who had good relationships with their current teams -- like RB Emmitt Smith -- to be released early. The rationale is that, if the team can't re-sign the player, as a goodwill gesture, they release the player to give him as much time to sign on with someone else.
The second date is April 1. Many contracts have April 1 as a roster bonus period. For some players, these bonuses are huge, as much as $3-4 million simply to remain on the roster. Some teams may hold on to their star quality players, hope that teams in their division with limited cap room take part in the early free agent feeding frenzy and can't get in bidding wars for their services to come directly back to haunt them.
The third date is June 1. This is when the hard cuts get made. These are guys that are going to provide a big cap hit –and releasing a player after this date, the cap hit can be spread over two years instead of one. This is where you'll see some of the biggest names of all, since they signed big deals four years ago and the eye-popping set of numbers come due -- like Mark Brunell counting $11 million against the Jags salary cap.
The key is not restructuring deals to delay the killer cap hit but instead spending the money smartly, not something John Butler has been known for in the free agent market – see Tim Dwight and Stephen Alexander's contracts. Hugh Douglas and Mo Lewis will likely be allowed to check out free agency, which could be a boom for teams with money to spend and needs on defense.
The next question is when will the Chargers make their moves, well some players such as Curtis Conway will find out early, he is due a roster bonus in March, other player such as Terrell Fletcher may have to wait to see their fate, even if it has already been sealed.
Stay Tuned: Next week we break out our huge Free Agency Guide which will include everything you need to know regarding Free Agency including a tracker on cuts, rumors and signings for the Chargers and around the league. Also key terminology will be highlighted and the early news on Free Agency.
Got something to say? Talk about it on the Chargers Message Boards
The Lowdown on Free Agency
BoltsReport Top Stories
Which Running Backs Can Make the Cut in 2017?Which backs will make it onto Mike McCoy's offense on the 2017 squad?
Mile High HuddleSunday at 9:08 AM
Denver Clarifies Trevor Siemian's PrognosisAfter a 104.3 the FAN report claimed that Trevor Siemian could miss significant time as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery, Denver Broncos V.P. of Public Relations Patrick…
Mile High HuddleFriday at 3:02 PM
Okung Out; Where Does Denver Go For LT Help?The Broncos have a gaping hole at left tackle. Doc Bear evaluates the best free agent options available to the Broncos in 2017.
Mile High HuddleFriday at 10:14 AM
Elway's Approach To Winning The OffseasonCarl Dumler analyzes how the decisions John Elway and the Broncos front office make in the offseason, consistently put them in a position to win on the grid-iron.
Mile High HuddleFriday at 9:29 AM
Ask WexSCI publisher Jim Wexell answers customer questions in the first of a two-part weekend series.
Steel City InsiderThursday at 8:21 AM