Much to the dismay of Chargers fans, a Derwin James contract extension has not happened yet for the fifth-year safety. Just last Wednesday, James officially began his hold-in. He has only participated in walkthroughs as opposed to full practices.
In a perfect world, everyone obviously wishes the deal was done and that James was out on the practice field with his teammates. Tom Telesco effectively said the same thing on "The Pat McAfee Show" earlier this week, in addition to reaffirming that a deal will eventually get done :
Considering the high likelihood that a deal still eventually gets done this summer, it shouldn't be all doom and gloom for the Chargers. In fact, the James hold-in both, directly and indirectly, benefits the team.
Why Derwin James' hold-in is good for the Chargers:
1. Nasir Adderley gaining experience in a lead role
With James not participating in practice, Nasir Adderley has been elevated to the main starting safety role. This week in practice, Adderley recorded multiple interceptions and pass breakups. When the Chargers have had pads on, the former Delaware star has been fast and physical.
The game clearly slowed down for Adderley in 2021 in a way that felt like true progression. Sure, there were some interceptions he would've liked to have come down with. But being a consistently disruptive force around the ball was important as well. James' absence only helps Adderley get more reps and experience.
Renaldo Hill confirmed that while James has been out of practice, Adderley has taken up the responsibility of "main-signal caller" on the defensive side of the ball. In theory, the Chargers could've given that to another player like Kyle Van Noy or someone more experienced. But giving that responsibility to Adderley in the meantime will only accelerate his long-term development.
When Week 1 comes around, we will see the starting safety pairing of James and Adderley on the field together. But for now, Adderley gets his chance to be one of the leaders on the defensive side of the ball in a contract year. It can only improve his vision for the game while building on his leadership skills.
Another way to think about it is that if James has to miss time for injury reasons or rest during the season, Adderley will be a more effective replacement in the short term because of the lead role he's taking this year in training camp. Even when not including the 2020 season where he was out for the year due to a torn meniscus, James has still missed 13 games between the 2019 and 2021 seasons due to lower body injuries.