Wednesday September 27, 2023

Chargers Hand Derwin James Record Safety Contract, Guaranteed Money

  • The $19.1M per year and $42M guaranteed are both NFL safety records.
  • Los Angeles is spending $40M+ guaranteed on four different defensive players — the most in the league.
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The Chargers have set yet another defensive contract record in their quest to compete in the wild AFC West.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles signed Derwin James to a four-year extension worth $19.1 million per season and with $42 million guaranteed, per Ian Rapoport. Both numbers are NFL records for a safety.

It’s the latest in a series of expensive transactions the Chargers have facilitated in the last few years.

  • L.A. now has four defensive players making $40M or more in practical guaranteed money — OLB Joey Bosa ($102M), OLB Khalil Mack ($90M), James ($42M), and CB J.C. Jackson ($40M). No other team has more than two.
  • Bosa’s guarantees represent the most for a defensive player in NFL history.
  • The Bolts also have two wide receivers — Keenan Allen ($43M) and Mike Williams ($40M) — making $40M+ guaranteed after the latter signed a three-year, $60M extension in March.

The Chargers have the luxury of being able to spend at these positions because they have not had to commit financially to the most important position on the field yet.

QB Justin Herbert is entering the third year of his four-year, $26.6 million rookie deal and is scheduled to make $7.3 million this season. Given his production and the team’s other spending, Los Angeles would seem likely to pick up the fifth-year option on the contract.

It’s all part of a larger arms race in the AFC West this offseason that has seen each team commit to winning now.

The Chargers have the second-best odds (+220) to win the division behind the Chiefs (+125), and ahead of the Broncos (+260) and Raiders (+650).

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