Cuts, Justin Herbert extension, and free agency: A look at the Chargers offseason

Alexander Insdorf
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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The Justin Herbert Extension

With the fifth-year option that is certain to be exercised on Justin Herbert, the Chargers don't necessarily need to extend him in 2023. But there is a precedent for first-round QBs getting paid entering year four. Patrick Mahomes in 2020, Josh Allen in 2021, and Kyler Murray in 2022 are just a few recent examples.

The other interesting angle with Herbert specifically is his 2020 draft classmates. Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa will presumably be vying for similar extensions from their teams this offseason. A wrench that has been thrown into the mix is the MVP-caliber season of Jalen Hurts. The Eagles' Pro Bowl quarterback was a second-round pick in 2020 and would be playing on the last year of his contract in 2023 if not extended in the offseason.

That creates a four-way race between these quarterbacks and franchises to see who can get a deal done. Whichever contract between these quarterbacks comes first likely sets the market for the others.

While not a necessity, there is a clear incentive for both the Chargers and Herbert to get a deal done as soon as the 2023 offseason begins.

The negotiation likely starts at an increased version of the deals that Deshaun Watson and Kyler Murray got last year. For reference, Watson's deal was $230M fully guaranteed while Murray got $46M AAV and $190M guaranteed on a similar $230M total.

A potential playoff run for the Chargers can only boost Herbert's price range as well.

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