Chargers’ Derwin James Resets Safety Market With New Contract-Extension

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Chargers safety Derwin James has reset the market for NFL safeties by becoming the highest paid safety in the history of the National Football League. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Los Angeles Chargers have agreed to a massive, 4-year, $76.4 million extension with James.

From his collegiate career all the way to his NFL career, Derwin James has been regarded as one of the best players at his position. James is a former 2x 1st-Team All-ACC in years 2016-17, and 1st-Team All-American in 2017. That success transitioned over into the NFL, earning a place in the 2018 PFWA All-Rookie Team, becoming a 2x Pro-Bowler and a 2x 1st-Team All-Pro. All of these accomplishments happened before James turned 27.

The road was not easy for James. He has dealt with numerous injuries throughout his young career. In 2019, James only played in five games before missing the rest of the regular season. James was diagnosed with a stress-fracture in his right foot, which required up to four months to heal after surgery. In 2020, James suffered a season-ending knee injury, torn meniscus during Chargers training camp, which required surgery.

With James resetting the safety market, it puts the Cincinnati Bengals in a more pressing situation with safety Jessie Bates III. Bates has still not signed his franchise tag and has been limiting his participation in team activities. Bates is seeking a new contract with the Bengals. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo spoke about the Bates situation on Wednesday. Video below.

Bates is regarded as one of Cincinnati’s best young defenders, as well as one of the best safeties in the National Football League. His six PDs and two INTs both led the NFL in postseason play in 2021, and his deflected pass that teammate Vonn Bell intercepted in the AFC Championship set up the game-winning FG drive that sent Cincinnati to Super Bowl LVI. Bates shares an agent with Derwin James, David Mulugheta of Athlete’s First.