Jerry Tillery

Eight Teams Attempted To Claim Jerry Tillery; DL Headed To Raiders

Jerry Tillery did not work out with the Chargers, but a fourth of the league wanted to greenlight a contract-year audition. Eight teams attempted to claim the fourth-year defensive lineman, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). The Raiders won out.

In addition to Las Vegas, which now holds the No. 2 spot in the waiver order, the Lions, Panthers, Colts, 49ers, Jets, Giants and Chiefs submitted claims for the former first-round pick. Considering Tillery’s history, the interest is not too surprising. His midseason Bolts exit does make the claim volume notable, however.

Tillery, who follows defensive lineman John Cominsky in drawing eight waiver claims this year, is signed for the remainder of the season. The Chargers passed on Tillery’s fifth-year option in May and moved him out of the picture for good late last week. This number of interested teams does open the door to a potential market in free agency come March.

This marks yet another D-line addition for the Raiders, who restocked their front during the Dave ZieglerJosh McDaniels regime’s first offseason. Bilal Nichols, Andrew Billings and rookies Matthew Butler and Neil Farrell comprise Las Vegas’ top interior D-line options. The Raiders had re-signed Jon Gruden-era pickup Johnathan Hankins but ended up trading him to the Cowboys before the deadline.

Chosen 28th overall out of Notre Dame in 2019, Tillery has 29 starts under his belt. He has tallied 10.5 career sacks and 12 tackles for loss in three-plus seasons. Tillery notched 14 quarterback hits during the 2020 and ’21 seasons. The new Bolts regime did not view him as much of a fit, signing Sebastian Joseph-Day and Austin Johnson in free agency and not picking up his 2023 option. Despite Johnson going down for the season, the Chargers followed through on ending Tillery’s tenure. With the Fighting Irish in 2018, Tillery recorded eight sacks to move onto the first-round radar.

Pro Football Focus rates Tillery just inside the top 50 among interior D-linemen this season; that mark is well north of the reviews the site gave from 2019-21. Tillery, 26, also finished his Chargers career having suffered a back injury while weightlifting. The Raiders and the septet of teams that did not end up landing him, however, were clearly unconcerned by that development. While the Raiders season has skidded off track, Tillery’s Silver and Black audition will be interesting.

Chargers Waive DL Jerry Tillery

The Chargers have moved on from a former first-round pick. The team announced that they’ve waived defensive lineman Jerry Tillery.

The Notre Dame product was selected by the Chargers with the 28th-overall pick in 2019. The defensive lineman had a difficult time carving out a consistent role in Los Angeles through his three-plus seasons with the organization. After serving as a backup during his rookie campaign, he started 26 games between 2020 and 2021. He’s been back to a situational role in 2022, starting none of his seven appearances. He’s collected eight tackles and one sack this year, and had he earned enough snaps, he would have graded as a middle-of-the-road interior defender, per Pro Football Focus (with the site giving him a nod for his pass-rush ability).

Tillery’s Chargers career will end with him having collected 106 tackles, 10.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles in 54 games (29 starts). The 26-year-old had his fifth-year option declined back in May, so the team won’t be on the hook for any future money. If a team claims Tillery off waivers, they’ll be responsible for paying the $1MM-plus remaining on his pact for this season.

“Jerry has been a valued member of our organization since arriving in 2019, and I want to thank him for all his contributions to the Chargers,” said general manager Tom Telesco (via the team’s website). “This was not an easy decision but, after careful consideration, it was a necessary one that is in the best interest of both team and player. We wish Jerry all the best moving forward in his career.”

The Chargers brought in a number of defensive linemen this past offseason, including Sebastian Joseph-Day, Austin Johnson, Morgan Fox, and rookie Otito Ogbonnia. That grouping will be more than capable of soaking up Tillery’s defensive snaps.

AFC West Notes: Broncos, Toney, Chargers

To help create cap space as they acquired Bradley Chubb‘s fifth-year option salary (initially), the Dolphins included Chase Edmonds‘ two-year, $12MM deal in their Tuesday trade with the Broncos. Edmonds joins a Denver backfield already housing veterans in Melvin Gordon and Latavius Murray. Gordon’s up-and-down Broncos tenure has now included a demotion, effectively, with Murray playing a big role since being signed off the Saints’ practice squad. Fumbles have continued to plague Gordon in 2022, leading to the reduced workload despite a starting role. Broncos GM George Paton said the Edmonds trade would not affect Gordon’s starter status, calling the former Cardinals change-of-pace back “another piece to the puzzle.” It will be interesting to see how the Broncos proceed once Mike Boone is ready to return from IR. The team has five injury activations remaining this season.

Midway through his eighth season, Gordon (75 carries, 263 yards, four fumbles) is on pace for career lows in totes and rushing yards. Edmonds is on Denver’s 2022 cap sheet at just more than $1.1MM; that number spikes to a nonguaranteed $5.7MM in 2023. Gordon and Murray are both on expiring contracts. Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • The other player coming to the AFC West via pre-deadline trade, Kadarius Toney is expected to make his debut for the Chiefs on Sunday night. Andy Reid pointed to Toney being in uniform against the Titans, via the Kansas City Star’s Herbie Teope (on Twitter). Toney has not played since Week 2. After he battled myriad injuries as a rookie, the former Giants first-round pick encountered issues with both hamstrings this season. The mercurial speedster, who has missed 12 career games, will attempt to stay healthy as he joins a Chiefs team that has started to see steady production from its post-Tyreek Hill receiving corps.
  • Shifting to the Chargers‘ receiving corps, Keenan Allen is aiming to avoid a lost season. The Chargers have ruled out their five-time Pro Bowl target due to the hamstring injury he suffered back in Week 1. Allen experienced a setback earlier this season but returned on a limited snap count in Week 7, but the 10th-year veteran said (via ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry) he exited the Bolts’ bye week feeling worse than he had before. Allen added that he was not 100% when he played in Week 7 and would not return again until he was full-go. After posting four 1,100-plus-yard seasons over the past five years, Allen has seen his absence hurt Los Angeles’ passing attack — one likely also impacted by the rib injury Justin Herbert suffered earlier this year. Mike Williams is also navigating an extended injury absence due to a high ankle sprain.
  • The hits keep coming for the Chargers. They will be without former first-round defensive lineman Jerry Tillery this week. Brandon Staley said the rotational D-tackle suffered a back injury weightlifting this week. Despite not starting and the Bolts not picking up his fifth-year option, Tillery has played 43% of the team’s defensive snaps this season.

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 NFL.com’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 ESPN.com 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 ESPN.com).

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 NFL.com (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.