In a bit of a surprising move, the Chargers have declined the fifth-year option on their 2019 first-round pick. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (on Twitter), the Chargers declined the fifth-year option on defensive lineman Jerry Tillery.
While this move will help Tillery hit free agency a year early, Rapoport notes that the defensive lineman is still “firmly in [the Chargers’] long-term plans.” GM Tom Telesco also recently gave the player a vote of confidence, stating that the organization is expecting “an even bigger role” in 2022. Still, the front office wasn’t willing to commit to his $11.8MM cap hit for 2023.
Tillery had a standout career at Notre Dame, leading to him being the 28th pick by the Chargers in 2019. The defensive lineman found himself in and out of the starting lineup through his first two seasons in the NFL, but he firmly established himself as a starting defensive tackle in 2021.
In 16 games (15 start), Tillery set career-highs across the board, including tackles (51), sacks (4.5), tackles for loss (six), and QB hits (14). The 26-year-0ld will earn around $3.6MM in 2022 before hitting the open market next offseason.