Corey Liuget

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/6/18

Here are Saturday’s minor moves and additional post-suspension activations:

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Ingram, Edelman To Return In Week 5

As we approach Week 5 of the NFL season, several NFL players are returning from four-game bans. As noted by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter), that list includes notables such as Saints running back Mark Ingram, Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, Cowboys defensive tackle David Irving, Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget, Colts running back Robert Turbin, Raiders cornerback Daryl Worley, Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith

Players do not count against a team’s roster max while suspended, so clubs will have to make room for these players before adding them for Week 5. There will be some tough decisions to make, but the upside is clear in most of these cases, particularly when it comes to offensive weapons like Ingram and Edelman or defensive pillars like Burfict and Irving.

Alvin Kamara should remain the focal point of the Saints’ running game, but the return of Ingram will give opposing defenses something else to think about. And, as we saw in the first three weeks of the Patriots’ season, Edelman has been sorely missed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Bills, McCoy, Chargers, Texans

Delicia Gordon, the ex-girlfriend of Bills running back LeSean McCoy, will hold a press conference on Friday to explain why she is “certain” McCoy was involved in a July home invasion that left her battered and bloodied, writes Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. While Georgia police haven’t yet uncovered any direct evidence linking McCoy to the incident, Gordon is offering a $20K reward for information tying McCoy to the crime. Reports earlier this month indicated McCoy was not expected to face charges stemming from the invasion, while the NFL also hasn’t expressed any interest in suspending him. On the field, McCoy is questionable for Sunday’s contest against the Vikings as he deals with a rib injury.

  • Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget is suing athletic trainer Ian Danney for $15MM in damages after Danney allegedly injected the former first-round pick with a banned NFL substance, as Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com details. Danney reportedly told Liuget he was using an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory to treat pain, but Liuget alleges the substance led to his four-game performance-enhancing drug suspension. Liuget ultimately accepted a hefty pay cut from Los Angeles, as his pay was slashed from $8MM to just $935K (with more money available via incentives). As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, Danney treats dozens of NFL players, so this case could be crucial on a league-wide basis.
  • The Texans are open to moving veteran defensive back Kareem Jackson back-and-forth between safety and cornerback, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes. Jackson, a longtime corner, shifted to safety this offseason to replace Andre Hal, but moved back to corner against the Titans in Week 2. Now 30 years old, Jackson graded as just the No. 95 cornerback in 2017, per Pro Football Focus, so lining him up in that position certainly has its risks. Houston head coach Bill O’Brien said Jackson’s role will be determined on a week-to-week basis, and where Jackson lines up will affect whether Aaron Colvin (cornerback) or Justin Reid (safety) is viewed as a starter.
  • Iowa State football coach Matt Campbell is a name to watch in NFL circles, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. A general manager brought up Campbell’s name this summer, per Breer, and another executive mentioned Campbell after the Cylcones competed with Oklahoma last weekend. Campbell, who was highly successful at Toledo before taking over the Iowa State program in 2016, finished with an 8-5 record last year.

This Date In Transactions History: Corey Liuget

Three years ago today, the Chargers agreed to a deal that they probably grew to regret. Fortunately for the organization, they managed to remedy the financial predicament during this past offseason.

Defensive tackle Corey Liuget had been selected by the Chargers in the first round of the 2011 draft, and he proceeded to miss only a single regular season game during his first four years in the NFL. The Illinois product received several accolades during this run, including the David Griggs Memorial Award, which is awarded to team’s defensive player of the year. Coming off a 2014 season that saw him compile 57 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles, Liuget ended up signing a five-year, $58.5MM extension ($30MM guaranteed) with the organization that would kick in at the start of the 2016 campaign.

While the 2015 season didn’t include the extension money, it was the first sign of trouble for Liuget. The defensive lineman was relatively productive in 11 games, collecting 34 tackles and three sacks. However, he ended up landing on the injured reserve after 11 games, ending his season early. He failed to put up big numbers in 2016 (29 tackles, no sacks), and he was limited to only 12 games last year. To make matters worse, Liuget was slapped with a four-game suspension to start the upcoming campaign.

The Chargers were apparently considering a way out of the contract, as they ultimately reworked the lineman’s deal this past offseason. Liuget was set to earn $6MM in 2018 (sacrificing an additional $2MM due to suspension), but his base salary was dropped to less than $1MM.

Surely, the Chargers would have preferred if the defensive lineman had ended up over-performing (or even living up to) his lucrative contract. Fortunately for the organization, they were able to wiggle their way out of a potential financial issue for the upcoming season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Broncos, Cards, Mayfield, Bolts

Multiple clubs have already reached out to free agent running back C.J. Anderson, whom the Broncos released on Monday, according to Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). Anderson, 27, appeared in all 16 games for the first time in his career in 2017, rushing for 1,007 yards and three scores. However, Anderson has managed only four yards per carry over the past two seasons, and — as Warren Sharp of SharpFootballStats.com detailed in an excellent Twitter thread — struggled with early-down work a year ago. Speculatively, teams that could be eyeing a running back addition include the Dolphins (who have expressed recent interest in Anderson in the past), Patriots, Texans, Giants, Redskins, Lions, Panthers, and Seahawks.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • The Cardinals hosted Oklahoma quarterback prospect Baker Mayfield on Wednesday, per Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link). Mayfield is widely expected to be a top-10 selection, and has been heavily linked to the Jets at No. 3, so Arizona — which currently holds the 15th overall pick — likely won’t have a shot at the ex-Sooner unless it trades up. But the Cardinals certainly need an infusion of talent under center, as neither Sam Bradford nor Mike Glennon are long-term options in the desert. Bradford inked a one-year, $20MM deal with Arizona earlier this year, while Glennon signed a two-year pact. Mayfield, if selected by the Cardinals, likely wouldn’t play immediately given the presence of Bradford, but he would set the club up for years to come.
  • Punter Riley Dixon did not report to Broncos‘ workouts on Monday and has been advised by his agent to stay away until Denver informs him of his status with the club, tweets Klis. The Broncos signed former Raiders punter Marquette King to a three-year deal earlier this month, so they’re clearly not going to keep Dixon around in 2018. Denver had been expected to shop Dixon, but it’s unclear if any other team is willing to sacrifice anything of note for a specialist with a spotty track record. Dixon, 24, has been the Broncos’ punter in each of the past two seasons after entering the league as a seventh-round pick in 2016. In 2017, Dixon ranked 22nd in net punting average, while Denver as a whole finished 26th in Football Outsiders‘ punt points metric.
  • Not only is Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget suspended for the first quarter of the 2018 campaign, but he’s also accepted to a hefty pay reduction. Liuget’s base salary has been cut from $8.05MM to just $935K, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The former first-round pick will still earn $2.585MM in bonuses and can collect more cash via incentives, but his 2018 cap charge has been slashed from $9.5MM to $5.02MM. Liuget, 28, appeared in 12 games in 2017, posting 15 tackles and 1.5 sacks while grading as the NFL’s No. 32 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus 

Chargers Rework Corey Liuget’s Contract

The Chargers and defensive tackle Corey Liuget have agreed to terms on a revised contract to keep him in Los Angeles for another season, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Liuget was set to earn $8MM in 2018, but his status was unclear heading into this year. 

Liuget will miss the first four games of the season after violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. The 28-year-old was already going to lose out on $2MM in base salary, but he’ll now make even less under the revised terms of his contract.

The former first-round pick appeared in 12 games in 2017, posting 15 tackles and 1.5 sacks. He graded out as the league’s No. 32 ranked interior run defender, per Pro Football Focus, and was especially proficient as a pass rusher. His 81.8 grade ranked 15th amongst all defensive tackles last year.

For the first month of the season, the Chargers will rely on reserves Darius Philon, Damion Square, and Kaleb Eulis to fill in for Liuget alongside Brandon Mebane. The Bolts may also bolster that unit through next week’s draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Dolphins, Chargers, Panthers

While the Dolphins may hope to select a quarterback in the first round of next month’s draft, many in the organization believe 2018’s Big Four — Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, and Josh Allen — will be off the board by the time Miami’s slot comes at No. 11, reports Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Views on projected starter Ryan Tannehill vary even among the Dolphins’ decision-makers, per Salguero, but he’ll be under center for Miami in Week 1 if the team doesn’t land a signal-caller in the draft, as the only other quarterbacks on the Dolphins’ depth chart are Brock Osweiler, David Fales, and Brandon Doughty. Jay Cutler, who started 14 games for Miami in 2017, won’t be re-signed, leaving Tannehill and his recovering knee as the only viable starting option.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • After being suspended four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy, Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget is not in danger of being released, according to Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com, who adds Los Angeles will not seek to restructure Liuget’s contract. Liuget, 28, is slated to earn $8MM for the upcoming season, so he’ll lose out on $2MM in base salary. The former first-round pick appeared in 12 games in 2017, posting 15 tackles and 1.5 sacks while grading as the NFL’s No. 32 interior run defender, per Pro Football Focus. Liuget was especially proficient as a pass rusher, as his 81.8 grade ranked 15th among defensive tackles
  • Although the Panthers are unlikely to make any more major moves in free agency, they are still open to re-signing backup quarterback Derek Anderson, per David Newton of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Aside from starter Cam Newton, the only other signal-caller on Carolina’s roster is Garrett Gilbert, who has never attempted an NFL pass. Anderson, who earned $2.25MM annually on his previous Panthers contract, has spent the past seven years as Newton’s backup. The backup quarterback market is rapidly thinning, but available options include Mark Sanchez, Kellen Clemens, and Geno Smith.
  • Running back Mike Davis‘ new one-year deal with the Seahawks is worth $1.35MM, reports Brady Henderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Davis received a $350K signing bonus — the only guaranteed portion of the contract — an can earn $200K in per-game roster bonuses. Seattle opted not to tender Davis a restricted free agent, but will now retain at a cost about $600K cheaper than the lowest RFA tender. Davis, 25, is part of complicated Seahawks’ backfield that also includes Chris Carson, J.D. McKissic, and C.J. Prosise.
  • The NFL has instituted a rule banning players from lowering their helmet to initiate contact, tweets Mark Maske of the Washington Post, who adds players can be ejected for doing violating the rule. The league will continue to work on the details of the rule and announce further revisions in May, as Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com writes.

Chargers DL Corey Liuget Suspended

Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget has been suspended four games for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Liuget, 28, is slated to earn $8MM for the upcoming season, so he’ll lose out on $2MM in base salary. The former first-round pick appeared in 12 games in 2017, posting 15 tackles and 1.5 sacks while grading as the NFL’s No. 32 interior run defender, per Pro Football Focus. Liuget was especially proficient as a pass rusher, as his 81.8 grade ranked 15th among defensive tackles.

With Liuget out of the picture for the first quarter of the year, Los Angeles could turn to internal options such as Darius Philon, Damion Square, or Kaleb Eulls to fill in through September. Alternatively, the Chargers could add defensive tackle in the draft, or add a free agent such as Johnathan Hankins, Bennie Logan, Shamar Stephen, or Quinton Dial.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Corey Liuget Suffers PCL Injury

On the same day the Chargers learned that running back Austin Ekeler would be out for the season, the team now has to deal with another injury on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive lineman Corey Liuget is now considered to be out with a “week-to-week” injury after suffering a grade 2 PCL sprain in last night’s game vs. the Chiefs, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Corey Liuget (Vertical)

Rapoport explains that while Liuget’s injury is just a short-term setback, it remains up in the air whether he will return to the field with two weeks remaining in the regular season.

Liuget, 27, has been with the Chargers since the franchise drafted him back in the first round in 2011. His best season came in 2012 when the defensive tackle recorded seven sacks and 51 total tackles. Liuget hasn’t been as much of a force in terms of getting to the quarterback in recent years, but he’s still graded out as the 31st best interior defender in the NFL by Pro Football Focus through 14 weeks.

Without Liuget, Los Angeles will have to turn to backups Darius Philon and Damion Square to fill out the team’s starting defensive line, which features Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and Brandon Mebane. However, if the Chargers can sneak into the postseason, it’s seems fairly likely that Liuget could return to the front seven.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Jets, Patriots, Chargers

The Jets could be seeking one or two running backs this offseason, as Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell and Stevan Ridley are set to become free agents. Responding to a letter from a reader, ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini said Eagles running back DeMarco Murray could be an option for the Gang Green.

Murray’s cap number isn’t necessarily prohibitive, it’s similar to Brandon Marshall‘s cap number when he was dealt to New York. However, the $14.5MM salary between 2016 and 2017 could make the team think twice about acquiring the All-Pro, as they’d probably be able to afford Ivory and Powell for a similar price.

Overall, Cimini doesn’t believe the Jets will invest that kind of money into one running back. The writer says the team should re-sign Ivory, draft a running back in the third or fourth round, and then use the extra money at other positions.

Let’s look at some more notes out of the AFC…

  • Patriots coach Bill Belichick added receiver Leonard Hankerson to the roster on Wednesday, and the logic behind the move was rather straight forward. “He’€™s been a good player and he was available,” Belichick said (via Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com). “It’€™s not that frequent that you see players like that available at this time of year, so we claimed him.”
  • Hankerson, meanwhile, is doing his best to learn the Patriots’ complicated offense. “It’€™s a totally different system than what I was in, so you’€™ve got to come in and work hard,” he said (via Petraglia). “You’€™ve got to get the playbook down, you’€™ve got to know what you’€™re doing, and you’€™ve got to be on top of your stuff. The most important thing is just knowing what you’€™re doing: Knowing where to line up, knowing how to get back to the locker room, learn how everything is done around here.”
  • Chargers defensive lineman Corey Liuget has been ruled out for the rest of the season, and the 25-year-old acknowledge that he played much of the season with a knee injury. “It was not the season I planned,” Liuget told Tom Krasovic of The San Diego Union-Tribune. “It was nowhere near what I wanted.”