A first-round selection in the 2009 draft by former San Diego Chargers general manager A.J. Smith, outside linebacker Larry English has not lived up to the lofty expectations of his draft status during his tenure so far with the team.
English has just 11 sacks in five seasons. His 2013 season was cut short after he suffered a torn biceps while sacking Peyton Manning in a 28-20 loss to Denver in Week 10.
While English could have played better, he’s still young for a pass-rusher at 28 years old, a position that traditionally takes longer for players to develop. Further, English knows and understands defensive coordinator John Pagano’s scheme. Add to that the fact that it’s hard for NFL teams to find and develop productive edge rushers, and it’s easy to understand why keeping English around is a move that makes some sense for San Diego.
Salary-cap specialist Brian McIntyre notes that English triggered the potential to void his rookie contract in the final year with minimal playing time in his first season in the NFL.
But the Chargers maintain that English remains under contract with the team, which means the plan right now is for the Northern Illinois product to remain with San Diego for the upcoming season.
English is scheduled to earn a little more than $1.5 million in base salary in 2014, so he’s inexpensive. And by adding English to a mix of edge rushers that include Melvin Ingram, Dwight Freeney, Thomas Keiser, Jarret Johnson, Tourek Williams and potentially Reggie Walker if he returns in free agency, San Diego will finally have some overall depth at an important position -- rushing the passer.
For English, returning to San Diego gives him a chance to continue rehabbing his injury at the team facility with doctors and trainers who know and understand his treatment. English was visible at practice and at games during the second half of the season while he rehabbed.
It also allows English to reestablish his value on the market by staying healthy and producing on the field in 2014.