The San Diego Chargers are starting a youth movement on defense and have released veteran defensive end Jacques Cesaire, according to multiple reports. Cesaire, who has been with the team for nine seasons, played in 125 games and started 66, but was no longer in the team's plans because they have three younger players that will rotate at defensive end.
Releasing Cesaire leaves the Chargers thin at defensive end, and they may have to use nose tackle Cam Thomas on the outside if there are any injuries.
The Chargers have added defensive linemen via the draft in each of the past four seasons, including three defensive ends. Thomas, Vaughn Martin, Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes were the four players drafted and are also the four players that will likely see their roles increased without Cesaire.
Cesaire made the roster as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Connecticut State in 2003 and has been with the Chargers for his entire career. The defense has struggled in recent years and the pressure is on Norv Turner and A.J. Smith to lead the Chargers deep into the playoffs.
Although the Chargers defense is not likely to be adversely impacted by the release of Cesaire, he obviously had an impact in the locker room. Veteran cornerback Quentin Jammer took to Twitter to express his thoughts about Cesaire.
Sad day!!! One of my best friends my brother @pray74 was released today!! One of the best MEN I've had the pleasure to call my friend!— Quentin Jammer(@JAM_I_AM_23) August 31, 2012
The rotation of Martin, Liuget and Reyes figures to be a good one for the Chargers and should enable the outside linebackers to make plays. Liuget specifically has looked dominate this preseason and Reyes is a rookie that is expected to push Martin for his job at some point this season.
The front seven in San Diego looks much different today than it did a year ago. Liuget has progressed at defensive end and the Chargers brought in Jarret Johnson and drafted Melvin Ingram to help against the run and pass.
Other cuts as announced and posted on NFL.com:
LB Bront Bird
OL Anthony Davis
OL Mario Henderson