We pretty much knew it was coming today since he was seen at Chargers park this morning, but the Chargers have reached an agreement with their top draft pick, Defensive End Corey Liuget. Liuget was selected number 18 overall by the Chargers in the 2011 Draft.
A little deducing tells us that Liuget's contract will be four years, and in the neighborhood of $8.5 million. This leaves only two first-round draft picks remaining unsigned around the league. Mike Florio at PFT reported earlier today that the three remaining first-rounders - Liuget included - were holding out because they wanted more money. Acee backs Florio's story up, and adds that the Chargers' deal with Liuget now guarantees part of the 4th year.
This marks the final rookie signing for the Chargers, and will join all the veteran free agents that also get to report to camp today, the day the league year officially starts. Liuget was drafted to be the Chargers starting Right Defensive End, which they see happening early on.
Even though the Chargers did re-sign Jacques Cesaire, the team still sees Liuget as the eventual starter, and Cesaire was re-signed to provide depth and to fill-in until Liuget is ready to start. Since Cesaire was a veteran free-agent, he missed the first seven days of training camp along with Liuget, so he hasn't had any more practice time than Liuget will have.
Just as a refresher, here's what our fearless [editor's note: more like hairless leader, amirite?] leader had to say about Corey Liuget after his draft selection:
The good news and then the bad. The good news is that Liuget fell to the Chargers. Many expected him to be picked at #14 by the St. Louis Rams, and when he wasn't the Chargers were excited to grab him. Corey is a very powerful defensive lineman and will step in as the starting DE right away. So, right away, we can at least say that A.J. Smith and the Chargers didn't "reach" on the pick.
The bad news is semantics. Many people thought Liuget would have to continue to be a 4-3 DT, because he was too short to be a 3-4 DE.....by about an inch, according to the range of acceptable 3-4 DE heights. Despite this, Liuget plays tall (knocking down a lot of passes) and seems to do a tremendous job at stopping the run. Playing next to Antonio Garay and Luis Castillo, he should be able to win many of the one-on-one matchups he'll be faced with or at least keep the Linebackers behind him clean.
Welcome to the team, Corey ... now get to work!