Chad Rinehart

Chargers To Cut Chad Rinehart

The Chargers won’t grant guard Chad Rinehart a third year in San Diego, and it will save more than $3MM as a result, according to San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Michael Gehlken on Twitter.

At the close of the 2014 league year, Rinehart was set to be the Chargers’ highest-paid offensive lineman after the team re-signed him to a two-year, $6MM deal last March. As a result of his impending release, San Diego saves $3.25MM in cap room but incurs a dead-money penalty of $1MM, per OverTheCap.

A starter in the majority of the games he’s played in six seasons for Washington, the Bills and Chargers, Rinehart regressed significantly last year after a decent initial campaign in San Diego, ranking as the fifth-worst guard Pro Football Focus (subscription required) measured. Last season marked the first time Rinehart started in 16 games, however.

The offensive front’s financial structure changed once the Chargers poached Orlando Franklin, likely Rinehart’s replacement, from the Broncos today and signed King Dunlap to an extension last month.

AFC Links: Rinehart, Bills, DeCosta, Dolphins

Over the course of a 2014 season in which the Chargers were plagued by injuries – particularly on the offensive line, where the team shuffled through five centers – only one player appeared in every offensive snap. As Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune observes (via Twitter), that player was left guard Chad Rinehart, who triggered a $900K escalator by playing more than 85% of the club’s snaps. Rinehart’s base salary for next season is now $3.15MM, up from $2.25MM, per Gehlken.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • Had Bill Polian come to the Bills, former Chargers GM A.J. Smith would have been considered for a front office job, according to John Clayton of ESPN (via colleague Mike Rodak on Twitter). Meanwhile, Tim Graham of the Buffalo News (Twitter link) has an update on a chain of Polian-related front office gossip out of Buffalo.
  • Addressing his continuing reluctance to interview for any general manager openings, Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta explained his stance: “It’s not [a fear of becoming a GM]. I have a great owner and work with my best friends. What else could you want?” (Twitter link via Jason Cole of Bleacher Report).
  • Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald examines five issues the Dolphins must address in the offseason. Among the items on Salguero’s checklist: getting a new defensive coordinator and some offensive line help to better protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
  • As we heard earlier this week, Browns GM Ray Farmer expects Josh Gordon‘s reps to challenge his suspension so that he gets an accrued NFL season in 2014. Pat McManamon of takes a look at where the Gordon situation currently stands.
  • The Jaguars will be one of the more interesting teams to watch over the next few months, as they head into the winter armed with a ton of cap space and not many of their own free agents to re-sign. Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap previews the club’s offseason.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Chargers Re-Sign Chad Rinehart

12:17pm: Rinehart’s new deal is worth $6MM over two years, with $2MM guaranteed, tweets Alex Marvez of FOX Sports.

12:00pm: The Chargers have officially re-signed Rinehart, the team announced today (Twitter link).

11:42am: Offensive lineman Chad Rinehart will be forgoing unrestricted free agency and re-signing with the Chargers, a source tells Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). Rinehart’s new deal will be a two-year pact, according to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).

Rinehart, 28, has never started more than 12 games in any of his five NFL seasons, but has been effective when he’s healthy and playing. Appearing in all 16 games with the Bills in 2011, the former third-round pick recorded a +16.1 grade, according to Pro Football Focus’ metrics, placing him ninth overall among guards. Last season, Rinehart stayed on the field for the Chargers’ playoff run, and played well in both of the team’s postseason contests.

When I evaluated the market for free agent guards, I ranked Rinehart in the second tier of potentially available options due to questions about his health. However, he has the upside to be an above-average starter, and the Chargers may have been able to retain him at a reduced rate due to those question marks.

AFC West Notes: Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs

D’Qwell Jackson was very impressed after meeting with the Broncos, but isn’t ready to make a decision, tweets Mike Klis of the Denver Post. In another tweet, Klis mentions that Jackson is heading to Miami to meet with the Dolphins before also meeting with an unknown team. Jackson should make a decision by the end of the week, Klis says in a final tweet.

A couple of notes from around the AFC West…

  • Eric Decker is not an elite player and the Broncos likely won’t pay him like one, says Jeffri Chadiha of According to Chadiha, Decker’s disappearance in the Super Bowl confirmed that Decker is a number two receiver, not a number one. The writer refers to a number of receivers who cashed in and then struggled with new teams, like Mike Wallace last season.
  • Chad Rinehart and Richard Marshall should receive attention from the Chargers, writes Eric D. Williams of Neither player would break the bank and they’d also fill holes in the team’s lineup, Williams says.
  • The Chiefs signed receiver Weston Dressler about a month ago, and Adam Teicher of warns to not overlook the acquisition. Teicher says that Dressler is insurance in case the team cannot retain free agent Dexter McCluster, but he also quotes coach Andy Reid saying “If you told me I could have two Dexter McClusters, that would be a good thing. I wouldn’t mind that at all.’’