The cuts continue to roll in as the Chargers have released linebacker Donald Butler. This was an expected move as Butler was set to count for nearly $9.3 million against the cap and had more or less been relegated to the bench. Butler was just two years into a big $1.8 million contract that he signed in 2014 that was one of the more unique contracts in the NFL. Butler’s contract was truly a contract within a contract that called for earning $19.8 million over the first three years of the contract with the Chargers then having an option to kick in another four years at $32 million. As things turned out he didn’t even make it through the initial contract phase.
The Chargers needed to release Butler before the start of the league year to ensure that option bonus, which was to be picked up after the season, would not count on the salary cap even if released before it was paid. By cutting him now he should count for $6.69 million on the salary cap, a savings of $2.59 million. Had they waited the Chargers may have had to account for the full $12 million option on the cap even though it was not paid to the player. We now estimate the Chargers have around $34 million in cap space.