Patriots Inquire About Chargers’ Trade Candidates; Latest On Bolts’ Plans

The Chargers sit in their own space regarding cap room. As of Wednesday morning, only three teams are over the cap. But only the Bolts are more than $2MM over. Jim Harbaugh‘s team remains $25.2MM over the cap, and the deadline for cap compliance looms in less then five hours.

The team has not made a move involving the contracts of Joey Bosa, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams or Khalil Mack. These four pillars double as the Chargers’ top cap hits, with 2023 restructures creating big 2024 numbers. All four check in beyond the $32MM place, putting the Chargers in crunch time as they begin the Harbaugh era.

The team has until 3pm CT to move under the $255.4MM cap, creating one of the more interesting salary situations in years. As OverTheCap’s Jason Fitzgerald points out, the Bolts have four of the top 12 cap hits in the NFL.

Conversations about trades have taken place, and the Boston Herald’s Doug Kyed notes the Patriots have discussed at least some of these trade candidates with the Bolts. New England features needs at both receiver and edge defender, though the team has done some work on those fronts in free agency. Kendrick Bourne and Josh Uche are returning for the Pats, but neither player’s resume comes particularly close to any of the Bolts’ trade chips.

This Pats news comes as they are pursuing Calvin Ridley. The team has made an offer to the recent Jaguars 1,000-yard receiver. A Ridley pickup would seemingly move an Allen or Williams acquisition off the table. The Pats still have Matt Judon under contract, with Uche back as a sidekick — albeit one on the inconsistent side — for at least the 2024 season. If the Patriots were to acquire Bosa or Mack, the team would certainly not run out a Judon-Uche starting duo.

New England still holds more than $59MM in cap space, leaving the team capable of absorbing one of the Los Angeles contracts. The Bolts are widely expected to trade at least one of these contracts (possibly more) today, the Washington Post’s Mark Maske tweets. A trade or release transaction involving one of this foursome should be expected, ESPN’s Adam Schefter notes.

The Chargers’ cap situation will make teams less inclined to fork over major assets here, as the league knows the Bolts will have to cut a player or two if no trade can come to pass. That said, a team that does not like its chances of landing one of these players on the open market could be well served to make a trade, and the Bolts have been open to that for a bit now.

All four players are tied to deals at or north of $20MM per year. Allen, 31, has been with the Chargers since 2013. Bosa, 28, has spent eight seasons with the team. Both are among the top players at their respective positions. Mack, 33, qualifies for such a classification as well; he bounced back in a big way last season, totaling a career-high 17 sacks. Williams, 29, missed most of last season with an ACL tear. The former top-10 pick’s injury history will certainly limit his trade appeal. One season remains on Mack, Williams and Allen’s contracts; Bosa is signed through 2025.

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