Chargers Rumors

Browns, Colts Lead League In Cap Space

The Browns and Colts have the most cap room of any team in the NFL heading into draft, as Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter) notes. Here’s the official rundown of every team’s cap space for 2018 on the eve of draft weekend:

  1. Browns – $69.5MM
  2. Colts – $59.8MM
  3. 49ers – $43.8MM
  4. Titans – $35.8MM
  5. Texans -$35.6MM
  6. Bears – $24.1MM
  7. Jets – $21.9MM
  8. Bills – $19.4MM
  9. Jaguars – $18.6MM
  10. Cardinals – $18.1MM
  11. Redskins -$17.1MM
  12. Bengals – $16.8MM
  13. Packers – $16.2MM
  14. Vikings – $15.5MM
  15. Broncos – $14.6MM
  16. Patriots – $13.8MM
  17. Buccaneers – $12.3MM
  18. Cowboys -$11.9MM
  19. Chargers – $11.4MM
  20. Lions – $9.4MM
  21. Giants -$9.4MM
  22. Ravens – $8.8MM
  23. Seahawks – $7.6MM
  24. Chiefs – $6.7MM
  25. Saints – $5.7MM
  26. Panthers – $5.2MM
  27. Dolphins – $2.9MM
  28. Eagles – $2.2MM
  29. Steelers – $2MM
  30. Raiders – $1.8MM
  31. Falcons – $1.3MM
  32. Rams – $264K

Chargers Plan To Exercise Melvin Gordon Fifth-Year Option

Though nothing is official, the Chargers intend to exercise the fifth-year option on running back Melvin Gordon, general manager Tom Telesco told reporters at his pre-draft press conference, ESPN’s Eric D. Williams writes.

“I think right now the plan is to exercise the option,” Telesco said. “But right now we’re just focused on the draft.”

As a running back drafted at No. 15 in 2015, Gordon would be scheduled to make $5.605MM in 2019. Though Gordon has been inconsistent throughout his three-year career, that number is still a solid bargain for the Chargers.

Gordon has rushed for 2,743 yards and 18 touchdowns in his career. He is coming off a career-high 1,105 yards on the ground and he also added 58 grabs for 476 yards and four touchdowns. In 2016, Gordon rebounded from a difficult rookie campaign to earn his only Pro Bowl selection.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dwight Freeney Retires From NFL

Dwight Freeney is calling it a career. After 16 seasons in the NFL, Freeney will sign a one-day contract with Indianapolis to retire as a member of the Colts. 

Freeney entered the league as the No. 11 pick in the 2002 NFL Draft. Since then, he has racked up seven Pro Bowl nods, three first-team All-Pro selections, and a Super Bowl ring.

Freeney, 38, will be best remembered for his time in blue and white, where he amassed 107. 5 sacks across eleven seasons. All in all, he has 125.5 career sacks to his credit, tying him for 17th all-time in NFL history.

The Colts averaged 11 wins per year during Freeney’s run with the Colts and had 11 sacks in his 22 playoff games with the team. Many thought the Colts were reaching when they selected Freeney in ’02, but he turned out to be the perfect fit for first-year head coach Tony Dungy.

Bill [Polian] had seen Dwight and thought he was exactly the guy I had been talking about,” Dungy said of Freeney. “We’re sitting at No. 11 in the first round and people looked at his size and thought it was too high to draft him. Bill, to his credit, said, ‘If this is going to be the big piece of the puzzle, let’s not worry about where we take Dwight and what other people think. Let’s get the guy who is going to be the perfect piece.’ Dwight was the straw that stirred the drink.”

The Syracuse product played in three Super Bowls — two with the Colts, one with the Falcons — and started in 19 postseason games. All seven of Freeney’s double-digit sack seasons came with the Colts.

Following his Colts run, which ran through the 2012 season, Freeney played with five more teams. His most notable post-Indianapolis season came with the 2015 Cardinals, for whom he registered eight sacks and helped to the NFC title game despite being an off-the-bench edge rusher. He recorded three sacks in each of the past two seasons, playing in Atlanta, Seattle and Detroit. Prior to Arizona, Freeney spent two seasons in San Diego.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Corey Liuget Accepts Pay Cut

  • 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 Pull RFA Tender On Chris McCain

The Chargers have withdrawn their qualifying offer from restricted free agent defensive end Chris McCain, ESPN’s Eric D. Williams writes

With the right-of-first-refusal tender removed, McCain is now free to sign with another team. Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn cited the reworking of Corey Liuget’s contract when addressing the withdrawn offer.

“This sport does have a business side to it. I think when you re-do Corey Liuget, it gives you some flexibility there and we did some things with Chris. We think Chris is a heck of a player. The door’s definitely open for him to come back. We’ll just how it works out.”

A practice squad signee with the Chargers in 2016, the fourth-year player out of Cal enjoyed a breakout season in Los Angeles in 2017, posting a career-high five sacks while appearing in a career-best 15 games.

Jets Claim K Nick Rose Off Waivers

The Jets were awarded kicker Nick Rose from the Chargers. Rose was dropped by L.A. on Friday and subjected to waivers. 

Last year, Rose filled in for the Redskins while Dustin Hopkins was sidelined with a hip injury. Rose did well in Hopkins’ absence, connecting 10 of 11 field goal attempts and 18 of 20 extra point tries. When Hopkins returned for the ‘Skins, Rose was released and later signed with the Chargers. Rose make only one of his three field goal tries in two games, which didn’t inspire confidence in L.A.

The Chargers plan to have Caleb Sturgis and Roberto Aguayo duke it out in camp for the team’s kicking job, though they could also look at other options given their field goal issues last year. Meanwhile, the Jets will pit Rose against Cairo Santos.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Chargers Could Target LB, DL In Early Rounds Of Draft

  • The Chargers‘ run defense was the weakest part of an otherwise strong unit in 2017, and with only Denzel Perryman locked in as a starter at linebacker for 2018, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times believes the Bolts could make a play for an LB early on in the draft. If the team does not trade up to select a talent like Tremaine Edmunds or Roquan Smith, Rashaan Evans and Leighton Vander Esch should be available when the Chargers are on the clock with the No. 17 overall pick. As Woike notes, the team also needs to decide what it wants to do with Perryman on a long-term basis, as the Miami product is entering the last year of his rookie deal.
  • The Chargers‘ run defense was the weakest part of an otherwise strong unit in 2017, and with only Denzel Perryman locked in as a starter at linebacker for 2018, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times believes the Bolts could make a play for an LB early on in the draft. If the team does not trade up to select a talent like Tremaine Edmunds or Roquan Smith, Rashaan Evans and Leighton Vander Esch should be available when the Chargers are on the clock with the No. 17 overall pick. As Woike notes, the team also needs to decide what it wants to do with Perryman on a long-term basis, as the Miami product is entering the last year of his rookie deal.
  • In a separate piece, Woike suggests that the Chargers could look to bolster their run defense by selecting a defensive lineman in the early rounds of the draft, with Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne being tied to the team in various mocks. Los Angeles has stayed out of the free agent market for linebackers and defensive lineman thus far, and Woike notes that Jay Bromley could be a name to watch if the team cannot fill its DL needs in the draft.

Chargers Waive RB Kenneth Farrow

Kenneth Farrow spent two seasons with the Chargers, the first as a backup to Melvin Gordon and the second on injured reserve.

Three days from beginning their offseason program, the Bolts waived the running back, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (on Twitter). The Chargers waived Farrow in September with an injury designation, and he ended up on their IR list. He’ll now revert to waivers.

Wilson notes Farrow, who suffered a shoulder injury last year, is now healthy and has been training in Houston. The third-year back is a University of Houston product. Farrow started two games for the 2016 Chargers and played in 13. He totaled 262 yards from scrimmage, most of which coming after a late-season Gordon injury created an opportunity for playing time.

Los Angeles’ current contingent behind Gordon consists of former UDFAs Austin Ekeler and Russell Hansbrough, so it should be expected the team will target a running back in the draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.