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2017 Chargers Analysis: Defensive Line

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Looking at the players under contract for next season.

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Atlanta Falcons Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

DT

Corey Liuget

Corey Liuget has been a disappointment since signing his huge, 5 year/$51.25 million contract. Based on the contract, it’s really a 4-year contract, the last year has a $1.25 million dollar roster bonus with a $8.25 million dollar base salary. The beginning of March is normally when the “new year” starts for the NFL, and if he were to be released before then, he wouldn’t get paid a dime. So basically, the Chargers signed a 4-year, $40-something million dollar contract. Also, on the 3rd day of the league year, his 2017 salary will be 100% guaranteed. If the Chargers were planning on getting out from under his gigantic, useless contract, they could avoid paying him $9.5 million and only be on the hook for $4.5 million over the next 3 seasons. I personally think it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to cut him because he has seemingly regressed every year since his 2nd season (in 2012), and ended 2016 with zero sacks. He did relatively well as a run defender this past season with 8 stuffs, which led the team, but he added almost no value as a pass rusher and it’s hard to justify his $9.5 million dollar price tag this season.

Brandon Mebane

Brandon Mebane soaked up offensive linemen blocks early and often. Before ending his season on IR, he actively opened holes for the Chargers to run through to get to the opposing quarterback/running back. While his name didn’t show up much on the stat sheet, he was a vital part of the defense. He ended up on the IR for the final 6 games of the season and I don’t think Damion Square was as good as Mebane was. Also, Brandon Mebane is set to make $4.5 million this year which isn’t a ton for a good starter on the defensive line. I wouldn’t be surprised if he never sees year 3 for the Chargers, as he’ll be set to make $5.5 million with only $1 million in dead cap if released. The Chargers will probably be looking to replace him in free agency/draft in the next two offseasons.

Caraun Reid

For a cheap price of only $690,000, the Chargers seemed to have found a gem after he was released by the Lions. Before his Week 7 season ending injury, Caraun had made some big plays (including a 61 yard touchdown on a fumble recovery). He was injured in Week 7 on a hustle play downfield when Denzel Perryman accidentally slammed into his knee, ending his season. He will be back next season at the same price and for someone who is a solid contributor, that is a steal.

Zamir Carlis

He saw zero time on the field last season and is basically a 26 year old rookie. I’m surprised he made it past cuts because I’ve literally never heard of him.

DE

Joey Bosa

While I think he’s dull as a conversationalist and he doesn’t know what personal space is (see Jimmy Kimmel clip) Bosa is a damn good football player. He ended the season with 10.5 sacks after sitting out the first 4 games of the season due to the idiotic contractual approach by the Chargers. Oh, to top that all off, he won Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press and by the Pro Football Writers Association. Not only was he the best defensive rookie but he looked like an elite pass rusher and run defender in only his first season. The sky is the limit for this guy, just don’t expect him to be a shining star in press conferences.

Darius Philon

As far as I’m concerned, Darius Philon isn’t incredible but he’s also not terrible. He wasn’t used a whole lot, but saw action in 14 games and ended with 11 tackles and 1 sack. He is familiar with the other players and he’s costing pretty close to the league minimum, so he’s well worth the money.