The Chargers restructured the contracts of wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams to create a total of $14.3775 million in salary cap space for 2023 according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. The moves will bring the Chargers closer to being salary cap compliant for 2023 as we estimate the Chargers still have about $7 million left to clear by next week.
Both restructures were straight salary conversions with seemingly no void years added to increase the cap savings for this season. In Allen’s case the Chargers converted $17.835 million into a bonus with $8.9175 million being deferred to 2024. Williams had $10.92 million of salary converted to a bonus, allowing the team to defer $5.46 million in cap charges to 2024. These are the max possible conversions with both players.
Given the Chargers salary cap situation the lack of void year additions was a little surprising. While void years are often the matter of debate, both Williams and Allen are entering the final year of their contracts in 2024. The use of void years would have at worst been a net neutral on the salary cap next season assuming both players are cut, while also giving the Chargers more flexibility with the salary cap this season if something came up that they needed space for. If the Chargers did nothing with the cap room and simply rolled it over the impact is the same and if they wind up keeping either player the cap number would be better next season. Perhaps they are also looking to limit cap room as a leverage tool if their quarterback is looking for an extension.
Both players have huge cap numbers in 2024. Allen is at $34.7 million and Williams is at $32.46 million. The big cap numbers do make it much easier for the Chargers to simply save face when either asking for a pay cut or releasing the players and perhaps that is part of the though process in not using the void seasons.
The two combined to miss 11 games this past season. Allen I had believed was a cut or pay cut candidate. While effective in the games he players, he will be 31 this year and missed 7 games. Williams contract was always designed to be a two year contract barring an explosion in production and this type of restructure sure makes it seem as if his release could be inevitable next season.
Given the team’s decision to keep Allen at his current salary, it would seem to indicate that the Chargers see this as an “all in” kind of season and do not want to tinker with the offense in any way. They are now in the tail end of Justin Herbert’s rookie contract and he could receive a record setting extension this summer. While his cap numbers should remain low for two seasons, even on an extension, his new contract will likely change the overall direction for the team. Right now the Chargers have one of the worst positions with the cap in 2024, though they certainly have a lot of flexibility with these two big cap numbers. All things considered the Chargers should be in a spot where drafting a wide receiver in one of the first two rounds of the draft should become a must.