The inevitable has happened as the San Diego Chargers have released Donald Brown and Donald Butler from their contracts. Also cut were linebackers Kavell Conner and Chi Chi Ariguzo. The Chargers had no choice in releasing Butler as Denzel Perryman has proved he is more than capable of taking his place.
In fact Butler basically lost his job last season towards the end of the year. Perryman was all over the field in limited action and the Chargers coaching staff had no choice but to start the rookie. Cutting Butler was the right thing to do. He just never lived up to his end of the deal after signing a huge contract two years ago.
Donald Butler has ability but his motivation seemed lacking from time to time. If a player is just going through the motions with no heart then the it is time to move on from him. After signing a $51.8 contact extension, Butler just seemed satisfied as an NFL player. There were games where he was completely invisible. For a starting middle linebacker to earn one or two tackles a game is an outrage.
Unfortunately the Chargers had to learn the hard way with Butler. Thankfully Tom Telesco had the vision to use a second round pick on Denzel Perryman who has turned out to be a beast in the middle. Perryman will earn one or two tackles in almost every series. That is the production you want from a middle linebacker not a guy jogging down the line with no intention of making a tackle.
After signing his contract Bultler graded out as the leagues 58th best linebacker out of 60 in 2014 and 51st out of 60 in 2015. Not the production you want from someone making that kind of annual salary. You can be sure with Perryman now in the middle (along with Manti Te’o) the Chargers will have a great future at the position.
The release of Donald Brown was also expected. Brown was cut at one point last year in fact. The Chargers had to bring him back after losing Branden Oliver for the season. Donald Brown was supposed to provide the Chargers some running back depth but he just could never get on track as a Charger. He did have some nice runs last year towards the end of the season, but they were hardly enough to save a roster spot for him.
In losing Butler from the team the Chargers free up some salary but more importantly they put the defense and its future squarely on the shoulders of Jason Verrett, Corey Liuget and Denzel Perryman. The linebacking corp is in great shape as Perryman constantly shows the intangibles that lead you to believe he is going to be something special.
The former Miami Hurricane was known for his leadership abilities and he has showcased them obviously in his first year as a San Diego Charger. Donald Butler will surface somewhere. Perhaps he will even turn out to have a good career. Not likely but possible. Physical skills have never been his limitation. It has always been a factor of motivation. With Perryman in the middle, you will never get a lack of effort or motivation.
So as the offseason just starts to get going we say goodbye to one Chargers linebacker and hello to another. Denzel Perryman has the ability to be very special. Losing Butler was a long time coming and his loss will only make the team a better unit. Look for the Bolts to acquire a veteran middle linebacker down the road to fill Butlers role on the team. Te’o is not the most durable of players so the Chargers will surely look for a veteran somewhere to add some depth at the position. The Butler most certainly did not do it Chargers fans. He was too inconsistent, but Perryman will be an absolute monster. Chargers fans already know this fact.