It was just two years ago when the Chargers jumped into the free agent market to try to fix their offensive line when they signed Orlando Franklin to a $7.1 million per year contract and they are already admitting the mistake that they made. The Chargers, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport have decided to release Franklin from his contract despite the fact that he has $3.5 million in guaranteed salary for the year.
It’s questionable why the Chargers waited this long to make the decision on Franklin’s future. I had Franklin rated as the third most likely cut along the interior offensive line so it is not as if this was a move that was surprising or should have been the result of a major draft selection. Had San Diego released him at the start of the league year they would have saved themselves from writing him a check for $3.5 million since his salary did not vest until the 3rd day of the league year. I don’t believe he was injured at the time so I have no idea what the delay would be for.
I know that many teams are hopeful that players will accept pay cuts as the summer draws closer and often use the results of the draft as leverage but with such a large guarantee it makes more sense to get that out of the way prior to the guarantee kicking in. The Chargers drafted guards in the 2nd and 3rd round of the draft and for Franklin it makes far more sense to go try to find a job with another team who will definitely start him since his $3.5 million is locked in rather than agreeing to stay in San Diego and potentially be benched during the season and limping into free agency next year. It’s not great planning in my opinion.
I could see the Chargers using the June 1 designation here for cap purposes. They have slightly over $10 million in cap space which is a comfortable number but they can add $2.5M to that with the June 1 and defer $3.2 million to 2018. If they fail to take the June 1 it will cost them about $700,000 this year. I would expect them to get a credit on the cap next for the minimum $775,000, which is what I imagine he will sign for.
All told the Chargers will have paid Franklin, before any offsets, $20 million for just two years and 26 games of play. In particular the Chargers decision making in 2015 turned out to be a nightmare. Also signed that year were tackle King Dunlap, cornerback Brandon Flowers and receiver Steve Johnson, none of whom lasted to 2017.