West Notes: Chargers, Berry, Fisher, 49ers

Another Chargers season is barreling toward a postseason exclusion brings relocation talk to the forefront for a second straight year. The 5-7 team may have just four games left in San Diego. However, Dean Spanos has delayed this Los Angeles commitment for a while, and the team’s chairman will continue to exhaust his options before making an official pledge to join Stan Kroenke and the Rams in Inglewood.

Spanos will meet with San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, other city officials, and business leaders this week, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Chargers’ city for the past 55 years, San Diego is viewed as being behind Los Angeles in this race, especially after voters resoundingly shot down their measure for a downtown stadium last month. Although Spanos has not made his decision yet, Rapoport reports (via Twitter) the city needs a strong proposal to keep the Chargers.

A combination of a love for San Diego, wanting to avoid a scenario where the Chargers are the Rams’ tenant in L.A., or possibly a future where the Bolts enter an uncertain period regarding who exactly their fanbase is may work in San Diego’s favor. But the city may need a miracle to keep the Chargers regardless of those factors since the stadium proposal was shot down so emphatically.

Here’s more from the AFC and NFC’s westernmost franchises.

  • The Chiefs balked at meeting Eric Berry‘s asking price this summer and still face a reality where their most popular player departs next year. Berry scored twice today on a pick-6 and a pick-2, if you will, to help the Chiefs upset the Falcons. He will turn 28 later this month, and Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star writes the team needs to do everything it can to keep the cancer survivor in Kansas City. Thanks largely to a spree of extensions over the past few years, the Chiefs will be up against the cap in 2017, with OverTheCap projecting them to be more than $1MM over the next salary ceiling. This is without Berry or Dontari Poe on the books for next season. It would cost the team $12.967MM to franchise Berry again. That would be the highest safety cap number by over $1MM for 2017.
  • Jeff Fisher confirmed the contract extension he agreed to with the Rams was signed over the summer, Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times tweets. “This was done well before the season. It was done well before we had 90,000 people in the Coliseum for our first preseason game,” Fisher said after the Rams’ loss to the Patriots (via Farmer, on Twitter). However, the Rams’ continued regression should not make it a lock the veteran coach is back in Los Angeles next year, Vincent Bonsignore of the Orange County Register writes. Viewing this short extension as a gesture of gratitude for helping shepherd the Rams’ move from St. Louis, Bonsignore still expects Fisher to be coaching for his job in the final month of the season. The Rams will finish at .500 or worse for the 13th straight year, and Fisher helping rebuild the team’s defense in the past five seasons might not be enough to save his job if the offense continues at its current rate, the Los Angeles-area writer notes.
  • Despite Colin Kaepernick being ready to test his value on the free agent market, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk envisions a path for the polarizing passer back to San Francisco. The sixth-year veteran voiding the contract still leaves the 49ers in charge of his rights until March, so the team could re-sign the 29-year-old quarterback. But that option, per Florio, likely stalls if the 49ers oust their power structure after the season. Florio also writes other teams might not be as quick to sign off on the former Pro Bowl performer due to the backlash that could come from fans as a result of his anthem protests.
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