The NFL announced that Corey Liuget will miss the first four games of the 2018 regular season due to a PED violation.
Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget has been suspended without pay for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Here are general manager Tom Telesco’s and Liuget’s statements following the four-game suspension.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 23, 2018
This isn’t what you want to hear if you’re the Chargers. However, Liuget is no longer the playmaker he once was since signing his five-year, $51.25 million contract extension in 2015. Liuget, 27, has missed nine games over the past three seasons and totaled just 4.5 total sacks in that span. His 21 combined tackles in 2017 was the lowest total since his rookie year in 2011. The former first-round pick split playing time with Darius Philon last year, but he became more effective that way. He was named a 2018 Pro Bowl alternate.
Liuget is currently on the books for three more seasons, including this year. He’s scheduled to make $8 million in non-guaranteed salary in 2018. The Chargers and Liuget should be in talks to restructure his contract. If Liuget refuses to take a pay cut, the Chargers would save $8 million in cap space ($3 million in dead money over the course of 2018-19) if released post-June 1, per Spotrac.
The Chargers are in need of an upgrade in the middle of the defensive line regardless. Ndamukong Suh, Johnathan Hankins and Bennie Logan are still out there for the taking. Or perhaps the Chargers make DT their top priority heading into the draft. Washington’s Vita Vea, Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne and Michigan’s Maurice Hurst could be the pick at 17.