The Los Angeles Chargers may have struck gold when they acquired Justin Herbert and molded him into a franchise quarterback, but that won't help them escape from what is likely the toughest division in the entire league. Once a last-place regular, the Denver Broncos made some serious upgrades at quarterback.
Not only did the Broncos make a humungous trade for Russell Wilson, but George Paton has wasted no time hitching his wagon to the Wilson experience. With Herbert also eyeing a long-term deal with LA, you can bet he and his agent are watching these negotiations with bated breath.
Wilson is not going to be the quarterback for the next seven years in Denver, as he inked a mammoth five-year extension worth $245 million with $165 million guaranteed. While Wilson is coming off a somewhat unremarkable final season in Seattle, it's hard to get too angry at Paton locking up an elite quarterback.
Herbert and the Chargers will likely get a deal done sooner rather than later, though the price for him may have just gone up. Considering the 33-year-old Wilson's contract and the 13-year-deal Patrick Mahomes is operating on, Herbert getting a deal that locks him for most of the next decade with close to $50 million AAV isn't farfetched.
What will Justin Herbert's Chargers contract look like?
Fresh off 5,000 yards in just his second NFL season, Herbert has done just about everything possible in a two-year span to prove he is worthy of such a lucrative deal. With Wilson and Aaron Rodgers getting similarly large deals at 33 and 38, what is Herbert going to command?
With Kyler Murray (an inferior quarterback) and Deshaun Watson (who has been suspended for some truly disgusting sexual harassment allegations) both getting around $46 million per year in their latest contracts, Herbert is almost certainly going to demand more than those two inferior quarterbacks.
With Mahomes and Wilson comprising a quarter of the season for the next half-decade, Herbert will need to continuously improve in order to match up with those two dynamos. Considering how he's further along than even the most optimistic supporters thought he would be in the draft, he's earned that payday.
If Herbert somehow does not get signed or ends up in a bidding war with a hesitant Tom Telesco, that is worthy of regime change. $50 million every year might sound like an outrageous amount, but Herbert is one of the few who is worthy of such a gargantuan payday.