Derwin James has been holding in during LA Chargers training camp as he and the franchise were working out a new extension that paid him past the 2022 season. That hold-in finally ended on Wednesday, when the Chargers made him the highest-paid safety in the NFL.
James signed a four-year, $76.532 million contract with the Chargers that will pay him $29 million in his first season. James also has $42 million guaranteed in the deal.
This is a historic day for James as he reset the safety market but that is not what the All-Pro safety is concerned about. Instead of celebrating the massive amount of money he is about to be making, James is celebrating something else: the ability to go back to practice.
James has remained extremely involved during practice while holding in, essentially doing everything in practice except for the physical aspects. Now the defense gets its leader back as James will return to practice with an extra-wide smile on his face.
This shows why the LA Chargers paid Derwin James all that money.
If any fan needed an extra example of why the LA Chargers made Derwin James the highest-paid safety of all time here it is. Not only is James an elite and unique player on the field but he is a true leader that loves the game of football.
He and Justin Herbert are very similar in this regard. Both just want to play the game of football and both are the most important player on their side of the ball. Time and time again we have heard Brandon Staley call James the quarterback of the defense as the team has literally built the defense around him.
As long as James can shake the injuries that he has suffered earlier in his career then he is going to be worth even more money to the Chargers during the life of this contract. Sure, he is listed as a safety, but there is not a single defensive player in the league that can do what James does.
James can literally play anywhere on the field, impacting the game in man coverage, zone coverage, in pass-rush. Anything the team needs him to do against a specific opponent/offense James can do. It makes the Chargers extremely difficult to game plan against, especially with all of the newfound talent on the roster.
This is a great day for the Chargers and an even better day for Derwin James and the fans. This was the last domino to fall before an extremely exciting 2022 season and now fans can sit back and watch the fun.