Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports – LA Chargers
2. Derwin James
Derwin James is not going to be a free agent after the 2021 season as the LA Chargers picked up the fifth-year option on his contract for being a first-round pick. While James is guaranteed to play another season with the Bolts, his 2021 season may be the most important to getting him paid in the future.
James was elite in his rookie season and was already one of the top five safeties in the entire league. However, he has not been able to stay healthy after that, missing 11 games in 2019 and the entire season in 2020.
James at his best is going to get a massive deal from someone. However, at some point, the injuries simply become too much to bear and he would become a flier for a team. Look at Jason Verrett. His ceiling was not quite was James’ is, but he still would have been paid a pretty penny if he could stay healthy.
As we saw with Joey Bosa and Keenan Allen, Tom Telesco is interested in locking up his stars a year before they hit the open market. If James can put together a full 17-game season and show no lingering signs of injury then that may be enough to convince Telesco to pay him a year in advance to keep him in LA.
And if James gets that offer it would be staggering to see him say no. With Derwin James’ injury history, you don’t turn down a big, mostly guaranteed contract hoping to maybe get more.