The moves come just weeks after there was speculation new GM Tom Telesco would be in the process of clearing up cap space for the 2013 season. The former Indianapolis Colts executive wasted no time getting to work, and now San Diego has cleared up a total of $4.5 million for the coming season.
Bigby, who was signed via free agency last year, played in 11 games for the Bolts in 2012 before heading to IR with a groin injury.
Now the Chargers have the added task of finding a starting SS to play alongside Pro Bowler Eric Weddle in the secondary, in addition to their already vast list of needs.
Potential candidates include third-year man Darrell Stuckey and 2012 third-round selection, Brandon Taylor.
Stuckey, a Pro Bowler last year for his elite special teams play, was heavily considered for the job last year when the team was looking for a starter, but the arrival of Bigby ended that opportunity.
Taylor seems like the most likely candidate to fill the need, considering the team drafted him last year with all hope that he would eventually be the starter at some point, after an illustrious career at LSU. However, the former rookie is coming off a devastating knee injury, which he suffered toward the end of last season.
U-T San Diego's Michael Gehlken spoke to Telesco about the release earlier today:
Chargers release Atari Bigby. Tom Telesco says he likes Brandon Taylor, Darrell Stuckey. Adds: "We'll add some competition for those guys."
In addition to the news of Bigby's release, Kevin Acee also tweeted that San Diego will not bring back starting CBs Antoine Cason and possibly Quentin Jammer as well:
Atari Bigby released. Chargers will not bring back Antoine Cason. Quentin Jammer likely gone ... Changes in secondary will rival those on OL
At this point, Telesco has done a fine job of making cap space, but his list of needs is growing as a result of that. Inside linebacker and cornerback are now concerns for the team.
And the cuts haven't even finished yet.
Antonio Garay is another rumored victim, likely to get the axe in order to give the team an added $5 million, according to U-T San Diego's Annie Heilbrunn:
Release of Spikes clears $3 million in cap space; release of Bigby clears another $1.5m. If they release Garay (expected) it's another $5m.
With starting OG Louis Vasquez at the top of their list for 2013, you have to believe that all this money is being freed up to court him away from any potential buyers on the market.