Chargers center Corey Linsley has likely played his final NFL game. In a move further pointing in that direction, he has agreed to adjust his contract ahead of an expected retirement announcement.
Linsley agreed to lower his base salary to the veteran’s minimum for 2024, per ESPN’s Field Yates. That figure was scheduled to be $11.5MM, but today’s move creates $10.29MM in cap space for Los Angeles. The former All-Pro will now be positioned to retire after June 1; doing so will allow the Chargers to spread out the dead cap hit remaining on his contract over a two-year span.
After being limited to just three games in the 2023 season, Linsley confirmed last month he is “99%” likely to retire. The longtime Packers starter was sidelined due to a heart-related issue, and it will cause him to hang up his cleats later this offseason. This arrangement will result in a $2.6MM dead cap charge for 2025, the final year of Linsley’s deal, as Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap notes.
The 32-year-old played out his rookie contract with Green Bay, then inked a three-year, $25.5MM deal to remain with the Packers. He maintained his status as one of the game’s top centers over that span, creating a lucrative market when he reached free agency in 2021. Los Angeles gave him a five-year pact averaging $12.5MM per year. That represented a record for centers at the time, and led to high expectations for his venture to the West Coast.
Linsley earned second-team All-Pro honors in his debut Chargers campaign, along with his lone Pro Bowl nod. He managed to suit for 14 games the following year, but his health issue resulted in the second year of his career which featured significant missed time. In his absence, the Chargers underperformed along the offensive line. The team ranked last in PFF’s run-blocking grades for 2023.
While today’s move provides further clarity on the need to replace Linsley, doing so could be a challenge in free agency. Even with the added spending power for this year, Los Angeles is one of several teams currently projected to be well over the salary cap when the new league year begins. The draft could offer an addition along the interior O-line, though no options in that department will be considered with the N0. 5 selection. The Chargers’ next pick is 37th overall, which could fall in range for a center prospect.