Sports

Chargers sign Derwin James to 4-year, $76.5M extension

COSTA MESA, Calif. — Los Angeles Chargers followers on Wednesday lastly bought to see what that they had been hoping for 3 weeks into coaching camp — a smiling Derwin James operating out to the sector in his powder blue follow jersey, helmets and shoulder pads.

James took half in his first follow after signing a four-year, $76.5 million contract extension, making him the NFL’s highest-paid security.

“This wasn’t like every other big contract that gets signed, because you know what he had to go through in order to make it to this point in his career,” coach Brandon Staley mentioned. “He overcame a lot to earn this contract, and he earned every cent of it. He was a big, big leader for us today out there.”

Derwin James
USA TODAY Sports

The deal contains $42 million in assured wage. James didn’t take part within the first three weeks of follow and took half solely in walkthroughs as the 2 sides labored on an extension.

“I’m feeling amazing,” mentioned James after the Chargers accomplished the primary day of joint practices with the Dallas Cowboys. There was by no means a doubt in my thoughts (the deal would get achieved). I simply tried to do what I might as a participant to come out right here every single day and get higher within the ways in which I might.”

James’ deal eclipses the four-year, $72.98 million extension Pittsburgh’s Minkah Fitzpatrick signed in June. That included $36 million in assured wage.

James took half in particular person drills however not one of the 7-on-7 or full-team drills towards the Cowboys. Staley mentioned James wouldn’t participate in workforce work till subsequent week.

The Chargers have spent almost $112 million in assured salaries for the reason that finish of final season to enhance a protection that was twenty third general and close to the underside in key classes, together with run protection, third down conversions and factors allowed after halftime.

James — the defensive signal-caller within the huddle — will likely be counted on because the chief of a unit that made vital upgrades over the offseason. Los Angeles signed cornerback J.C. Jackson, defensive linemen Sebastian Jones-Day, Austin Johnson and Morgan Fox and edge rusher Kyle Van Noy, together with buying and selling for linebacker Khalil Mack.

Staley on Tuesday pressured the significance of James, saying he’s greater than a security and is a whole defensive again. Staley additionally referred to as James “the heartbeat of our defense.”

James mentioned he took these feedback to coronary heart.

“That’s a privilege to me for people to be able to think of you like that. I feel like that carries a lot of weight and just have to keep getting better and not be satisfied with it. Don’t get arrogant, just keep working and staying humble,” James mentioned.

James — the seventeenth general decide within the 2018 draft — didn’t take part in full-speed drills in the course of the offseason program after having shoulder surgical procedure as soon as final season ended. He is cleared to go now that the contract points are resolved.

James was an All-Pro choice as a rookie earlier than being derailed the following two seasons due to accidents throughout coaching camp. A damaged foot restricted him to 5 video games in 2019, and he suffered a season-ending knee damage in 2020.

Last season James bounced again and reclaimed his spot as one of many prime safeties within the league. He was the eighth defensive participant and first defensive again since 2000 to have greater than 100 tackles (118) after being sidelined the earlier year.

James additionally had two interceptions, a pair of sacks and three pressured fumbles. He wore No. 33 his first 4 seasons earlier than switching to No. 3, which he wore throughout highschool and school.

Derwin James
Derwin James
AP

The almost two-hour follow between the Cowboys and Chargers was even-keeled, with none scuffles.

Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons mentioned he was happy with the session.

“I think today, we came out and really competed hard, especially made big strides from last week. … And I just felt like the energy was there, and that’s kind of like the standard we need to play with every game this year,” he mentioned.

Chargers operating again Austin Ekeler mentioned it was good to come out towards one other workforce and see different seems to be.

“There’s a lot of learning. We didn’t know what they were going to come out in and they showed us some looks today, defensively, that we weren’t really prepared for. We were kind of figuring it out on the fly,” he mentioned.

“That’s where you really see the true value in your team and how you can actually react and play under stress and under times where it’s not going your way and things aren’t maybe as planned out.”

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