Derwin James' $76 million contract extension with Chargers makes him highest paid NFL safety

·2 min read

Chargers safety Derwin James told USA TODAY Sports that he wanted to stay in Los Angeles and build something with the Chargers. He is going to get that opportunity.

The Chargers and James agreed on a multi-year contract extension, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

The deal makes James the highest paid safety in the league, the person said, and the deal is worth $76.4 million over four years.

James attended Chargers' training camp, but opted not to participate during his contract negotiation process. It's safe to say he'll happily join the team in activities now.

James has elevated himself to one of the best defensive backs in the league.

The Chargers drafted James in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He had a breakout rookie season with the Chargers, earning first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. The safety endured two injury-riddled seasons following his rookie campaign but had a bounce back 2021 season.

James amassed a career-high 118 tackles, two interceptions and five pass deflections in 2021. He also had a career-best three forced fumbles. His 118 tackles ranked third among all defensive backs. His efforts awarded him Pro Bowl honors and he was also in the running for Comeback Player of the Year.

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley shakes hands with free safety Derwin James, who just became the highest paid safety in the NFL.
Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley shakes hands with free safety Derwin James, who just became the highest paid safety in the NFL.

James lined up in multiple positions for the Chargers last year, plus he had defensive play calling responsibilities.

"That’s a guy that we definitely need," Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen said of James. "He’s the heart of the defense, heart of the team pretty much."

James has produced 257 tackles, five interceptions, 19 pass deflections, 5.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss in 36 career games all with the Chargers.

Follow USA TODAY Sports Tyler Dragon on Twitter @TheTylerDragon.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James signs contract extension