Chargers won't exercise option on DT Corey Liuget

Off to the free-agent market defensive lineman Corey Liuget will go.

The career-long Chargers defensive tackle will be a free agent as the team will not exercise its option on Liuget, who has a $9.5 million cap hit, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Wednesday afternoon. Rapoport added that the Chargers, however, are open to him returning. The team later confirmed the report.

Taken 18th overall in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Chargers, Liuget, 29, was due a $4 million base salary in 2019 along with a $4 million roster bonus and a $1.5 million signing bonus.

"Corey's made major contributions to this organization since being our first-round selection in 2011 both on and off the field," said Chargers general manager Tom Telesco via "He was our Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee in 2018 for a reason and you won't find a player who made a bigger contribution in the community than Corey. While we did not exercise the 2019 option in Corey's contract and he will now become a free agent on March 13, the door is certainly not closed for a possible return in the future."

In 2018, Liuget played in a career-low six games with a career-low three starts, tallying nine tackles and 1.5 sacks. His season started late following a four-game suspension due to a PED violation and his campaign came to an early end when he tore a quad tendon.

Darius Philon and Brandon Mebane were Los Angeles' mainstays on the interior of the defensive line.

Across most of his first seven seasons, Liuget was a cornerstone in the Chargers' starting lineup as a defensive end over his first three and a half seasons and a defensive tackle the following three and change.

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