The Los Angeles Chargers have committed to keeping Derwin James on the team for the foreseeable future. On Wednesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that he has agreed to a four-year, $76.4 million deal extension. The average compensation for safety has never been higher than his $19.1 million.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the contract’s guarantees total $42 million. If James hadn’t committed to a contract with the Chargers, he would have become a free agent following the 2022 season and could have signed with any team.
The Chargers and the 26-year-old player have agreed to an extension after ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on July 20 that both sides were “optimistic” about concluding a deal.
While waiting for an extension, James initiated a holdout in training camp and stopped taking part in team workouts. It was therefore at least possible that an agreement would not be reached. Since being drafted in the first round in 2018, James has been an indispensable member of the Los Angeles defense.
In his first season, he had 105 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 13 pass breakups, and was named to the Pro Bowl. In addition to being named to the All-Pro team, he was the runner-up for the Rookie of the Year defensive honors.
A stress fracture in his right foot limited James’ 2019 season to just five games before he was sidelined for the year. A meniscus problem in his right knee also forced him to sit out the entire 2020 season.
The 2021 season saw the Florida State alum continue right where he left off. He played in 15 games and recorded 118 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, 5 pass breakups, 3 fumble recoveries, and 2 forced fumbles.
James made the Pro Bowl and was a top-three finalist for Comeback Player of the Year. He’ll be a key cog for a Los Angeles squad that’s hoping to make a long playoff run.
James was expected to start at strong safety at the beginning of training camp, but he was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Both seasoned players, Adrian Phillips and Rayshawn Jenkins were in the running for the part as well.
James will start the regular season as the starting strong safety, with Jahleel Addae at free safety, thanks to a promotion from the position by head coach Anthony Lynn. In the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, his first as a starter for the Los Angeles Chargers, he made three tackles, broke up two passes, and recorded the first sack of his professional career on Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
James made his first interception as a professional in Week 3’s 35-23 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on September 23, 2018. He also recorded nine tackles, one pass deflection, and one pass denial.
On a pass intended for tight end Gerald Everett, Rams quarterback Jared Goff threw an interception right into the end zone, where James made his first career interception. As a first-year player, he was selected to the Pro Bowl on December 18, 2018. The NFL released its Top 100 Players of 2019 rankings on July 28th, and James came in at number 31.
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