Chargers Sign Corey Liuget To Extension

TUESDAY, 3:29pm: The Chargers announced that they have signed Liuget to an extension.

Corey is a consummate team player who goes about his work in an unselfish manner,” GM Tom Telesco said. “His preparation and dedication to the game and the Chargers has been evident since day one. Corey is talented, tough and durable, and plays a very important role in our defense. This extension is another reflection of our commitment to investing in our core players and homegrown talent.”

MONDAY, 8:16pm: The deal is expected to add five years to Liuget’s deal for a little north of $10MM per year, sources tell Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego.

3:33:pm: The Chargers and defensive lineman Corey Liuget are putting the finishing touches on a long-term contract extension, which should be done soon, according to Ian Rapoport of (via Twitter). Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported (via Twitter) that an extension, characterized by Rapoport as “lucrative,” appeared imminent — Liuget himself told Gehlken that he hoped it would get done within the next few days.Sep 14, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers defensive end Corey Liuget (94) gestures during the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Liuget, who turned 25 in March, has been a key contributor at defensive end for the Chargers since being selected in the first round of the 2011 draft. The former 18th overall pick has started 61 regular season contests for the club in his four seasons, including all 16 games in each of the last three years. In 2014, Liuget notched a career-high 57 tackles and recorded 4.5 sacks to go along with a pair of forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

As a first-round pick, Liuget had a fifth-year option tacked onto the end of his rookie contract, which the Chargers exercised last offseason. That option called for the Illinois product to earn a $5.477MM base salary in 2015, though that number will likely be altered when an extension is finalized, with Liguet’s payout for ’15 increasing while his cap hit decreases.

While Liuget has been a reliable contributor for the Chargers over the last few seasons, and his new extension was considered a “priority” for the club this spring, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) has given him a mix of positive and negative grades throughout his career, and he’s not an elite pass rusher. As such, while Cameron Jordan‘s recent extension with the Saints may have been a point of comparison in negotiations with the Chargers, I wouldn’t expect Liuget’s deal to be in quite the same neighborhood as Jordan’s new contract.

As Over The Cap’s data shows, Jordan is part of a group of four 3-4 defensive ends that are paid significantly more annually than other players at the position, with Jordan, J.J. Watt, Calais Campbell, and Jurrell Casey all earning at least $9MM per year. My guess is that Liuget’s new deal will place him in the second tier of 3-4 defensive ends, rather than amongst that top group.

Locking up Liuget is big for the Chargers, but the team will still have several core players in line for unrestricted free agency following the 2015 season. Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, and Eric Weddle are among the San Diego veterans entering contract years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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