ESPN: Derwin James, Chargers Agree to 4-Year, $76.4M Contract as Top Paid Safety Ever

Erin WalshAugust 17, 2022

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 02: Derwin James #33 of the Los Angeles Chargers heads into the tunnel prior to the game against the Denver Broncos at SoFi Stadium on January 02, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Derwin James will remain with the Los Angeles Chargers for the foreseeable future.

He agreed to a four-year, $76.4 million contract extension Wednesday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. His $19.1 million average salary is the highest ever for a safety.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport added the deal includes $42 million in guarantees.

James was due for an extension and would have become an unrestricted free agent after the 2022 campaign had he not agreed to a deal with the Chargers.

The 26-year-old's extension comes after ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported on July 20 that the Chargers were "optimistic" about reaching an agreement.

However, James began a hold-in during training camp, refusing to participate in team drills as he awaited an extension. So, there was at least some concern that a deal would not be completed.

James has been a staple in L.A.'s secondary since being selected in the first round of the 2018 draft.

During his rookie season, he posted 3.5 sacks, three interceptions, 13 pass breakups and 105 tackles en route to being named a Pro Bowler. He also earned an All-Pro selection and finished second in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting.

However, James appeared in just five games in 2019 before he suffered a stress fracture in his right foot that caused him to miss the remainder of the year. He also missed the entire 2020 campaign with a meniscus injury in his right knee.

The Florida State product picked up right where he left off during the 2021 season. In 15 games, he posted two sacks, two interceptions, five pass breakups, three forced fumbles and 118 tackles.

James was named a Pro Bowler and finished third in Comeback Player of the Year voting.

He'll be a significant piece of an L.A. team that has high hopes for a deep playoff run.