Jerry Tillery

Chargers DL Jerry Tillery On Roster Bubble?

When Jerry Tillery had his fifth-year option declined back in May, the Chargers made it clear that they still saw the defensive lineman as part of their future. However, it sounds like Tillery could find himself on the roster bubble come preseason. Daniel Popper of The Athletic writes there is a “realistic scenario” where the Chargers look to move the former first-round pick in a trade toward the end of training camp.

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). While the numbers were solid, ProFootballFocus didn’t grade him particularly well, ranking Tillery 96th among 106 eligible interior defensive lineman.

After the season, the Chargers decided they didn’t want to commit to Tillery’s $11.8MM cap hit for 2023, so they declined the player’s fifth-year option. When the news broke, we heard that the defensive lineman was still “firmly in [the Chargers’] long-term plans.” GM Tom Telesco also gave the player a vote of confidence, stating that the organization was expecting “an even bigger role” for the lineman in 2022.

Fast forward to today, and it’s tough to find a clear role for Tillery on the Chargers defense. As Popper writes, all of Sebastian Joseph-Day, Austin Johnson, Morgan Fox, Christian Covington, and Otito Ogbonnia appear to be locks to make the roster. That means Tillery would be fighting for the final defensive line spot, and there’s a chance that the Chargers could roster only five lineman like they did in 2021. Popper opines that Breiden Fehoko, Forrest Merrill, and Joe Gaziano could each bring more to that sixth role thanks to their run-stopping ability, and while Tillery is the superior pass rusher, his skills overlap too much with Fox. Ultimately, the writer decided to keep Tillery on his proposed 53-man roster, but he believes the organization could move on if they prefer to keep a run stopper.

2023 NFL Fifth-Year Option Results

Monday marked the deadline for NFL clubs to officially pick up their options on 2019 first-rounders. Fifth-year option seasons are no longer just guaranteed for injury — they’re now fully guaranteed, which makes these decisions a little tougher for teams.

Nineteen players had their options exercised, a tick up from 14 last year. Here’s the full rundown:

1. QB Kyler Murray, Cardinals – Exercised ($29.7MM)
2. DE Nick Bosa, 49ers: Exercised ($17.9MM)
3. DE Quinnen Williams, Jets: Exercised ($11.5MM)
4. DE Clelin Ferrell, Raiders: Declined ($11.5MM)
5. LB Devin White, Buccaneers: Exercised ($11.7MM)
6. QB Daniel Jones, Giants: Declined ($22.4MM)
7. DE Josh Allen, Jaguars: Exercised ($11.5MM)
8. TE T.J. Hockenson, Lions: Exercised ($9.4MM)
9. DT Ed Oliver, Bills: Exercised ($10.8MM)
10. LB Devin Bush, Steelers: Declined ($10.9MM)
11. OT Jonah Williams, Bengals: Exercised ($12.6MM)
12. LB Rashan Gary, Packers: Exercised ($10.9MM)
13. DT Christian Wilkins, Dolphins: Exercised ($10.8MM)
14. G Chris Lindstrom, Falcons: Exercised ($13.2MM)
15. QB Dwayne Haskins:
16. DE Brian Burns, Panthers: Exercised ($16MM)
17. DT Dexter Lawrence, Giants: Exercised ($10.8MM)
18. C Garrett Bradbury, Vikings: Declined ($13.2MM)
19. DT Jeffery Simmons, Titans: Exercised ($10.8MM)
20. TE Noah Fant, Seahawks: Exercised ($6.9MM; originally drafted by Broncos)
21. S Darnell Savage, Packers: Exercised ($7.9MM)
22. OT Andre Dillard, Eagles: Declined ($12.6MM)
23. OT Tytus Howard, Texans: Exercised ($13.2MM)
24. RB Josh Jacobs, Raiders: Declined ($8MM)
25. WR Marquise Brown, Cardinals: ($13.4MM; originally drafted by Ravens)
26. DE Montez Sweat, Commanders: Exercised ($11.5MM)
27. S Johnathan Abram, Raiders: Declined ($7.9MM)
28. DE Jerry Tillery, Chargers: Declined ($11.5MM)
29. DE L.J. Collier, Seahawks: Declined ($11.5MM)
30. CB Deandre Baker — N/A (released by Giants)
31. OT Kaleb McGary, Falcons: Declined ($13.2MM)
32. WR N’Keal Harry, Patriots: Declined ($12.4MM)

Chargers Decline Fifth-Year Option On DL Jerry Tillery

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.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/26/21

Here are the latest minor moves from around the NFL:

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Los Angeles Chargers

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Chargers Move Joey Bosa Off COVID-19 List

SATURDAY: This short Bosa saga does not look like it will result in him missing any time. The Chargers activated him off the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday. However, Tillery will miss Week 11’s Steelers tilt, as he remains on the Bolts’ COVID list. Los Angeles also moved linebacker Drue Tranquill from the virus list to the active roster.

WEDNESDAY: Bosa still has a chance to play Sunday. The standout pass rusher did not test positive for the virus but qualifies as a high-risk close contact, Brandon Staley said (via’s Taylor Bisciotti, on Twitter). This means Bosa is unvaccinated. He must be away from the team for a five-day period. But since Bosa did not test positive, he would be eligible to return Sunday night and play without practicing this week.

TUESDAY: The Chargers may well be without their best pass rusher Sunday night. Joey Bosa is now on the Bolts’ reserve/COVID-19 list, with Field Yates of adding (via Twitter) defensive tackle Jerry Tillery joins Bosa in that regard.

Unless Bosa is unvaccinated and qualifies as a high-risk close contact, which would allow for a return after five days, he faces an uphill battle to play against the Steelers in Week 11. Although vaccinated players who test positive can return with negative tests two days apart, returning to play in the same week of a positive test has not been a common occurrence this season. If unvaccinated, Bosa testing positive would sideline him for at least 10 days.

Having battled injury issues in the past, Bosa has not missed any time this season. The highly paid edge defender leads the Chargers with 5.5 sacks and 11 quarterback hits. Tillery’s 2.5 sacks from his defensive line spot is second among Chargers this season. The former first-round pick has been a starter for the past two seasons.

Bosa and Tillery join Minkah Fitzpatrick in having landed on the COVID list this week. Ben Roethlisberger is also uncertain to play in Week 11, having experienced symptoms after testing positive for the coronavirus Saturday. Mike Tomlin has said Big Ben would play if cleared, regardless of his practice time this week, but it is not certain the 18th-year quarterback will be cleared in time. As such, Sunday night’s game could be missing a few star players due to the virus.

Chargers Sign First-Round Pick Jerry Tillery

The Chargers have signed 2019 first-round draft choice Jerry Tillery, per a team announcement. In accordance with his slot, Tillery will receive a four-year, $11.4MM deal with a $6.3MM signing bonus.

The Bolts had just three defensive tackles on the roster going into the 2019 draft, so Tillery, a 6-6, 300-pound DT from Notre Dame, filled an obvious need. Plus, GM Tom Telesco said Tillery was the only player left on his board with a first-round grade by the time the Chargers were on the clock with the No. 28 overall pick (h/t Eric D. Williams of

Los Angeles would continue to add front-seven talent in the draft after the Tillery selection, but Tillery’s ability to generate an interior pass rush is particularly appealing given that it could open up even more opportunities for Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Tillery did suffer a torn labrum in his shoulder during his final collegiate season, which ultimately required surgery, but he is still expected to be ready for training camp.

In his final year with the Fighting Irish, Tillery registered seven sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss. He also had a strong showing at the combine, including the best SPARQ score (a measurement of overall athleticism) of any defensive linemen.

With Tillery in the fold, only second-rounder Nasir Adderly and third-rounder Trey Pipkins remain unsigned from the Chargers’ 2019 draft class.

Jerry Tillery Ahead Of Schedule

Good news for Notre Dame defensive tackle Jerry Tillery. The potential first-round pick is ahead of schedule in his rehab from shoulder surgery, Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter) hears. 

Tillery is expected to be ready to for all football activities by early July, which should help his draft stock heading into Thursday. The DT met with the Broncos, Chiefs, Eagles, Colts, and four other teams in the lead-up to the draft and any one of those clubs could consider him towards the end of the first round.

Analysts are high on Tillery’s potential and given the latest news, it would be a surprise if he lasted until the third round. The youngster offers upside as a defensive tackle in 4-3 schemes but can also fit as an end for 3-4 clubs.

In his final year with the Fighting Irish, Tillery registered seven sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss. It also helps that Tillery had a strong showing at the combine, including the best SPARQ score (a measurement of overall athleticism) of any defensive linemen.

Draft Notes: Giants, QBs, Broncos, Tillery, Dolphins, Savage, Bryce Love

The Giants have been one of the most heavily scrutinized teams leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft. Many observers thought they were going to take a quarterback with the second overall pick, but they passed on signal-callers like Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, and Josh Rosen to take Saquon Barkley. After Eli Manning had another disappointing season, it seemed like his time as New York’s quarterback was coming to an end, and that the Giants would almost certainly take on early this year. Instead, the Giants have more or less doubled down. They’ve already declared Manning will be the starter in 2019, and they’re reportedly even open to him starting in 2020 and beyond. As the draft got closer, the idea of the Giants passing on a quarterback began to pick up more and more steam.

But now we’re finally getting some pushback on that, and momentum appears to be heading the other way with the draft less than a week away. “Several smart people around the NFL are convinced” the Giants will use the sixth overall pick on a passer, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network hears (Twitter link). We heard yesterday that the Giants are doing their homework on West Virginia quarterback Will Grier, who could be a target on Day 2. Overall, the Giants have done a pretty good job keeping us all in the dark about their intentions, and we won’t know for sure what they’re doing until draft day.

Here’s more draft buzz from around the league with just six days until the draft kicks off:

  • “One of Broncos final pre-draft visits was with Notre Dame DE Jerry Tillery,” a source told Mike Klis of Denver 9 News (Twitter link). Many analysts are very high on Tillery’s upside, and he’s currently projected by most to go sometime in the second round. Tillery played defensive tackle at Notre Dame, and could fit nicely as an end in Denver’s 3-4 defense. Last year with the Fighting Irish, Tillery had 8.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. With Von Miller and Bradley Chubb already in place, the Broncos would have a very talented pass-rush if they added someone like Tillery.
  • The “odds remain in favor of the Dolphins addressing their defensive line with their first-round choice,” writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. A lot of Dolphins fans have been hoping Miami would take a quarterback with the 13th pick, but the team appears set to punt on the position for now and take a bigger swing at it in 2020. The Dolphins appear set to roll with Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter for the duration of the 2019 season, and as much as they want to deny it, are tanking.
  • Darnell Savage Jr., the Maryland safety, has been shooting up draft boards. Savage has had a meteoric rise, and could go as high as the late first round. He’s been busy recently, visiting with the “Cardinals, Bucs, Steelers, Colts, Seahawks, Lions, Titans, Falcons, Chargers, Rams, Patriots, Panthers, Browns, Eagles and Steelers,” according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (Twitter link). Last season, Savage had 52 tackles, including 5.5 for a loss, and had four interceptions.
  • If he had left after his junior season, Stanford running back Bryce Love likely would’ve been an early draft pick. The 2017 Heisman runner-up opted to return to school for his senior year, and ended up tearing his ACL last season. Love’s stock took a hit, and it could be tumbling even further. Teams are very concerned that his knee, the same one where the ACL was torn, remains very stiff, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). Love attended the combine’s recent medical re-check, and some teams are apparently concerned he might not get back to 100 percent. Pelissero does note that the stiffness is an issue that can be treated, and it could require another surgery. Here’s to hoping Love makes a full recovery.


Draft Notes: Packers, Dillard, White, Fins

Midway through a rather notable offseason, given the recent behind-the-curtain look at their previous power structure, the Packers are investigating some high-end quarterback prospects. They are obviously set at sports’ marquee position, but with Aaron Rodgers set to turn 36 by season’s end, Green Bay is at a similar point compared to when it last made a major quarterback investment. The Packers will host Drew Lock on a visit Tuesday, Terez Paylor of reports (on Twitter). They also tried to set up a summit with Daniel Jones, but the parties’ schedules did not line up, Ian Rapoport of adds (via Twitter). The Packers took Rodgers when Brett Favre was 36 and sat him for three years. While Green Bay pulling the trigger on a passer would be rather surprising, especially given Rodgers’ contract status, the team does have two first-round picks this year.

Here is the latest from the draft world, staying on the subject of quarterbacks:

  • Lock will also meet with the Chargers, per Charles Robinson of (on Twitter). Teams have ramped up their signal-caller-related preparation, in the event Kyler Murray does not go No. 1, according to Robinson, who notes some teams believe this year’s passers could slide a bit should Murray not be the Cardinals’ choice atop the draft. Some modest steam picked up on this notion earlier Monday.
  • The Dolphins, who already met with Jones, will head to the Duke campus to work out the former Blue Devil starter, Rapoport reports (on Twitter). Teams only have a few more days to host prospects on “30” visits but can still work them out after that deadline passes. Miami will also host Michigan linebacker Devin Bush and Florida tackle Jawaan Taylor, Adam Schefter of tweets.
  • Devin White‘s stock has risen during the pre-draft process, to the point he may be the rare off-ball linebacker to be picked in the top five. One of the teams holding such a selection, the Raiders, brought in White for a visit, Rapoport tweets. The Buccaneers, who hold pick No. 5, have been closely connected to the LSU ‘backer. The Raiders have the No. 4 overall pick. Oakland, which also holds the Nos. 24 and 27 selections, will meet with tight end Noah Fant, on Monday as well, Rapoport tweets. The Raiders lost their starting tight end of the past two seasons, Jared Cook, in free agency.
  • For weeks, the Jets have been viewed as a team that would love to trade down. They are meeting with a prospect Tuesday that would support the fact this is a consideration. Ed Oliver will visit the Jets, per Schefter (on Twitter). While the defensive tackle is a surefire first-round talent, he has not been mocked as a player who would be a consideration at No. 3 overall.
  • The Titans are visiting with defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, per Rapoport (on Twitter). This is the Notre Dame-developed defender’s second known visit, the first having come with the Saints recently. Tillery remains in rehab after surgery to repair a torn shoulder labrum.
  • Not much has surfaced about which teams are researching an Andre Dillard pick. That has changed. The Washington State tackle prospect is visiting the Falcons on Monday and will meet with the Chargers later this week, Schefter tweets. Additionally, Schefter adds the first-round offensive line hopeful has already visited or worked out for a host of teams — the Giants, Jets, Dolphins, Ravens, Titans, Panthers, Vikings, Jaguars, Bills, Texans, Bengals, Packers, Redskins.

Draft Rumors: Bucs, Bills, DL, Saints, Harry

A fifth team emerged on Nick Bosa‘s pre-draft schedule. The Buccaneers will host the impact edge rusher prospect, according to Albert Breer of Bosa will have dinner with Bucs representatives on Sunday night and stay in Tampa for a Monday visit. The Ohio State-honed defender met with the Cardinals and Giants last week and has 49ers and Raiders meetings on his agenda. But a Florida trip will follow. It appears next to impossible Bosa falls to the Bucs at No. 5, so the only way Tampa Bay likely would be in position to land him would be through a trade-up scenario.

Here is the latest from the draft, staying with the Bucs:

  • Having visited with LSU linebacker Devin White, the Bucs’ interest has appeared to have increased. The Bucs “love” White, Breer adds, and the off-ball ‘backer has been rumored to have climbed into potential top-five consideration. No non-rush linebacker has gone off the board in the top five since Aaron Curry 10 years ago. Tampa Bay saw Kwon Alexander defect to San Francisco, creating a need here. But No. 5 overall is quite the perch to take an off-ball linebacker.
  • A sixth team scheduled a Montez Sweat summit. The Bengals brought in the Mississippi State-developed defensive end on Monday night, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio tweets. He has already met with or is scheduled to visit the 49ers, Raiders, Bills, Packers and Bucs. Sweat blazed to a 4.41-second 40-yard dash at the Combine and seems likely to go off the board in the top 10.
  • Staying on the subject of draft-eligible ends, Jaylon Ferguson‘s extensive April tour of NFL cities continues. Among the teams on his reported 22-visit tour: the Bills, Giants, Colts, Eagles, Cowboys, Titans and Rams, per’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). Ferguson met with the Bills on Monday; he will head southeast for his Giants powwow next. His visits with the Colts and Eagles are on tap for this week, with the Cowboys, Titans and Rams meetings are slated for next week. The Bucs and Bengals were already on the Louisiana Tech-produced pass rusher’s docket.
  • This year’s wide receiver hierarchy has not produced a clear-cut favorite, D.K. Metcalf‘s take-notice measurables notwithstanding. One of the top pass-catching prospects, N’Keal Harry, joined Ferguson in meeting with the Bills on Monday, Pelissero tweets. Upcoming for the Arizona State alum this week: visits with the Eagles, Patriots and Saints. Harry rates as the No. 4 receiver prospect — behind Marquise Brown, Metcalf and A.J. Brown — per’s Daniel Jeremiah. Harry met with the Seahawks last week.
  • One of the second-tier defensive tackle prospects, Jerry Tillery remains in recovery from shoulder labrum surgery. But he traveled to New Orleans on Monday for a pre-draft Saints visit, Pelissero adds (via Twitter). The Notre Dame product is not expected to participate in OTAs but may be on track for training camp. The 6-foot-7, 305-pound prospect profiles as late-Day 1/early-Day 2 pick. By virtue of 2018 trades, the Saints hold just one pick in the first four rounds — No. 62 overall.
  • The Jets also parted with extensive draft capital in 2018, in order to land Sam Darnold. As a result, they continue to be mentioned as a team ready to trade down. Gang Green “badly” wants to trade out of the No. 3 slot, Breer notes. The Jets surrendered what became the No. 34 overall pick to the Colts last year, and the Mike Maccagnan-led front office wants to collect a second-round pick via trade.