A season that’s going to send the Chargers to their first top-10 draft pick since 2004 won’t feature Brandon Flowers or Corey Liuget for the home stretch, with the team opting to place both defensive starters on injured reserve, Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (on Twitter).
San Diego activated rookie defensive lineman Darius Philon from IR-DTR in one of its two corresponding moves.
The team also promoted quarterback Brad Sorensen off the practice squad as an insurance policy against Philip Rivers‘ illness, one that’s not expected to force him to miss Sunday’s game against the Chiefs, Gehlken reports.
Both Flowers and Liuget signed lucrative contracts with the Chargers prior to this season.
A fifth-year veteran who signed a five-year, $51.25MM extension, Liuget struggled with a foot injury. Flowers, who joined the Chargers last season as a free agent, left last week’s game against the Broncos with a knee malady.
Liuget totaled 60 straight starts before missing Week 9 against the Bears before resuming his role as a starting end in the Chargers’ 3-4 scheme. He notched three sacks and led Chargers defensive linemen with 35 tackles but rated as Pro Football Focus’ 76th-best interior defensive lineman.
Also mirroring the Chargers’ freefall, Flowers did not live up to the form he displayed when he relocated from Kansas City on a one-year deal last season. PFF ranked him as its fifth-worst regular cornerback. The 11th-highest-paid corner in the league after signing a four-year deal in March that pays him $9MM+ AAV, Flowers is under contract through the 2018 season.
The Chargers placed Philon, a sixth-round pick this year, on IR-DTR after Week 5. The rookie figures to get a long look after missing so much time and Liuget’s sudden shelving further thinning out an injury-plagued team.
San Diego’s already lost Keenan Allen and experienced rampant offensive line issues in its woeful season. These latest moves will increase the Chargers’ chances of procuring a potential top-5 pick. They’d pick at No. 3 in the first round if the season ended today.