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Tom Telesco Explains Chargers Salary Cap

Take a behind the scenes look at Mike McCoy and Tom Telesco's second day of the NFL Combine.

While the NFL Draft is front and center in Indianapolis with over 300 prospects on hand for the Scouting Combine, free agency is right around the corner.

General Manager Tom Telesco fielded numerous questions during his annual press conference at Lucas Oil Stadium, and gave a detailed look at the team's salary cap.

"Cap wise, we have enough to do what we need to do, let's put it that way," he said.  "I think this time of year, everybody has their pool number as far as what they have available (and) the room they have available. That isn't always the number you can spend on free agents from other teams."

While fans and pundits fixate on a set number a team has available, Telesco explained how it is misleading to offer a specific amount allotted for unrestricted free agency.

"I always look at (cap space) like your bank finances you have at the first of the month.  You have a deposit in your checking account, but you have to take out your mortgage or your rent, your parking, your grocery and your utilities.  And then you have your discretionary money at the end. So our cap is very similar to that. We have a number right now that we have room for but before we use that money on other free agents, we have to look at RFA tenders (and) exclusive rights tenders. We have to subtract out of that. There's obviously some players of our own that we'd like to re-sign that will come out of that number."

That is far from the only amount the Chargers need to set aside before devoting it to new free agents.

"We have to budget, too, for the draft picks this year and that counts in the cap. We have to budget for in season injury replacements which obviously last year we had to make sure we budget high because last year we had a good amount. And then we have some potential extensions for some younger core players. After you go through all that, you have your number at the end that you can spend on other teams UFAs. So the number isn't always going to be what you'd like, but we think we have enough to get done what we want to get done."

The Chargers have 23 pending free agents of their own with whom they must make decisions, and perhaps none are more important than the tight end position. Antonio Gates, Ladarius Green, John Phillips and David Johnson are all set to become unrestricted free agents, meaning the Bolts don't have a tight end under contract that played a single snap for them last season.  Telesco hopes to gain some clarity on the situation as he plans to meet with the agents for Gates and Green this week.

"(Our tight ends are) in flux right now. We have got two that are free agents in Antonio and Ladarius Green. So we'll kind of see how it goes, we'll meet with their agents here at the combine with Tom Condon and Adisa Bakari. We'll kind of see how it shakes out from there."

While some outsiders have speculated the Bolts might need to make a decision between Gates and Green, Telesco insisted that isn't the case.

"We don't see it like that. We can do both if we have to, which we'd like to do. But as far as where we're at cap wise, we can handle both."

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