will pay Robert Meachem
$5 million this season, despite cutting him before the regular season. (Greg Trott, AP)
The Chargers had nearly seven million reasons to keep veteran wide receiver Robert Meachem on their roster. Even a massive financial commitment was not enough, though, to convince the franchise to ride it out with its massively disappointing 2012 free-agent pickup.
San Diego planned to release Meachem on Saturday, according to a report from the Union-Tribune's Michael Gehlken, despite Meachem's $5 million guaranteed salary for 2013 and a $6.875 million cap hit that will stay on the books. The Chargers also will suffer a $3.75 million dead-money hit to their salary cap for 2014, due to the terms of Meachem's contract.
The Chargers handed Meachem a four-year deal worth just shy of $26 million last season, in hopes that the former Saint could add a productive weapon to their Philip Rivers-led passing game. Meachem mustered only 14 receptions in 2012, while struggling to even crack the lineup. He stayed buried on the depth chart throughout the preseason, too, despite a rash of injuries at receiver -- the worst being the season-ending knee injury suffered by Danario Alexander.
Though Meachem did manage to come up with seven catches in the preseason, including four in San Diego's final game, the positive signs were few and far between. Kevin Acee, also of the Union-Tribune, cited a source in early August as saying that Meachem's body was "broken down."
A first-round pick of the Saints in 2007, Meachem never ascended to top-receiver status in New Orleans, but he was a solid contributor from 2009-11. He averaged 43 catches and more than six TDs per season during that stretch, before parlaying his success into that lucrative contract with the Chargers.
The team's decision to cut him loose Saturday cements his standing as one of the Chargers' worst moves ever in free agency. It is one for which they will pay dearly throughout the 2013 season.