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Derwin James' 5th-Year Contract Option Reportedly Exercised by Chargers

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2021

Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James makes a catch during an NFL football camp practice, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Costa Mesa, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Chargers reportedly plan to exercise the fifth-year option for safety Derwin James, according to Albert Breer of The MMQB.

The move will give James $9.052 million in guaranteed money for 2022, per Spotrac. The No. 17 overall pick in the 2018 draft made $10.2 million in his first three seasons.

James missed all of 2020 with a torn meniscus in his right knee suffered during training camp. He also suffered a stress fracture in his right foot in 2019 that caused him to miss 11 games.

The health concerns might have created some hesitation for the Chargers, but James has proved to be an elite talent when healthy.

The 24-year-old was a star as a rookie, totaling 105 tackles with 3.5 sacks and three interceptions. He was named to the Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro after playing 99 percent of the team's defensive snaps, per Pro Football Reference.

Defense was also a strength for Los Angeles that season, finishing eighth in the league in points allowed en route to a 12-4 record and a trip to the AFC Divisional Round.

The Chargers have worsened on that end over the past two seasons, finishing 14th in scoring in 2019 and 23rd in 2020. The squad has gone 12-20 in that stretch while missing the playoffs both years.

A healthy James could help the team return to postseason contention in both next season and in 2022.

If he lives up to expectations and stays on the field, the Florida State product could be in for a huge payday on his next contract.

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