March 7 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Chargers released former first-round pick and offensive lineman D.J. Fluker along with cornerback Brandon Flowers and wide receiver Stevie Johnson on Tuesday in an effort to clear salary cap space.
Los Angeles maintained only $5 million in cap space before cutting the trio of players according to OverTheCap.com. Fluker was owed $8.821 million in the 2017 season, while Flowers was set to make $7 million.
However, getting rid of Johnson will cost $3.5 million against the cap.
"Parting ways with men I've gotten to know and respect is the toughest part of this job," Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said in a statement.
Fluker, 25, was selected 11th overall in the 2013 NFL Draft and started all 59 games he played over four seasons with the Chargers, including 16 last year.
"Few players have shown the amount of passion and dedication that D.J. has shown for us the last four years," Telesco said. "D.J. was the ultimate teammate who gave every ounce of effort he had to help our team. I will have great memories of D.J.'s time with the Chargers and wish him the best of luck with his career."
Flowers, 31, was a Pro Bowler with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013 before joining the Chargers for the next three seasons. He led the team in interceptions (three) and passes defensed (10) in 2014 but battled injuries since signing a new deal with the team before the 2015 season.
Flowers was limited to six games last season.
Johnson, 30, missed the entire 2016 season with a knee injury he sustained during training camp. He joined the Chargers in 2015, catching 45 passes for 497 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games.
"I want to thank Brandon for his contributions and his professionalism throughout his three years with us," Telesco said. "I wish D.J., Brandon, Stevie and their families all the best in the future."