The Chargers will pay Robert Meachem a $5 million salary this season to play somewhere else.

They notified the wide receiver Saturday afternoon they've "let him go" a source said a presumed release that ends a high-priced union that proved a poor fit for both sides. The cut comes before the second season of a four-year contract that fully guaranteed Meachem $14 million including a $7.5 million signing bonus and his $5 million base salary this year.

San Diego had every financial reason to keep him.

Meachem was counting $6.875 million against this year's salary cap whether on the roster or not. The figure now becomes the latest lump of dead money from the 2012 free agency class.

Between him and tackle Jared Gaither another 2012 signing cut one season into a four-year deal the new Chargers regime has $8.875 million in cap space this year or 6.8 percent of its total budget tied to two free-agency misfires from the previous regime. And that's only the start of it.

He and Gaither will cost another $7.75 million in dead money in 2014. They pocketed a combined $23 million to play 657 offensive snaps roughly an average of $35000 per rep part of the reason general manager A.J. Smith is no longer on staff and why it may take time for successor Tom Telesco to rebuild the roster's depth.

The Chargers had options.

If Meachem was cut before June without a June 1 designation his cap hit would climb from $6.875 to $10.625 million and he'd be off the books in 2014. Instead since the cut occurred after June 1 the acceleration of Meachem's $3.75 million unamortized signing bonus won't be applied until the next league year providing some short-term relief as the Chargers work to produce a competitive product.