Desmond King has been excellent in his first two seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers and they should look to extend him next offseason.
The Chargers are truly “suffering” from an embarrassment of riches. Their roster is loaded with a mix of very talented veterans and young players still on their first NFL contracts. With several of those contracts expiring soon, the Chargers will have difficult decisions to make with some of the players that will ask for top-10 money at their respective positions.
One of those players – King – shouldn’t garner any hesitation from the front office when it comes to negotiating a long-term deal. Surprising many, King dropped all the way to the fifth round of the 2017 NFL draft with some concerns over his lack of speed and athleticism. This despite winning the Jim Thorpe Award as a junior; awarded to best defensive back in college football in 2015.
The Chargers happily snatched King up with their fifth-round selection and he has been nothing but stellar in the slot for Gus Bradley’s defense. He has racked up four interceptions in his first two seasons and has returned two of those for touchdowns. King also has 15 passes defended to go along with four sacks and 133 combined tackles (108 solo). He has also contributed as a game-changing punt returner with one touchdown last season and an average of 13.8 yards per return.
With two seasons under his belt and his performance improving each season thus far, the Chargers should look to extend King as soon as next offseason if he has another stellar season. The price of slot cornerbacks is continuing to go up and the Chargers should strike early if they can secure a more team-friendly long-term deal for King.
The top three highest paid (based on average annual value) slot corners in the NFL are Chris Harris, Justin Coleman, and Tavon Young. Their contracts have an average annual value of $12.05 million, $9 million, and $8.6 million respectively. If the Chargers can convince King to sign for around $10 million per year, they should consider themselves lucky.
According to Pro Football Focus, King was the top-ranked slot corner in the NFL, followed by Harris, Jason McCourty, Nickell Robey-Coleman, and Justin Coleman.
While it may be a bit early in King’s career to say he’s better than Harris, paying King $10 million per year is fair market value for a slot corner that is clearly better than almost every slot corner on their respective highest-paid list. He fits the Chargers’ mold of a player that is a good teammate, productive on the field and stays out of trouble off the field.
A long-term extension for King should be one of the easiest decisions for Tom Telesco and the Chargers’ front office.