Across the National Football League, several prominent players, such as Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams, have gotten themselves paid handsomely with new contracts.
In the next year or two, there will be more Pro Bowlers and All-Pro honorees who will also become free agents and command big bucks.
One of them is Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert.
He established himself as an elite QB in 2021, and his stock could continue to rise this coming season.
In the spring of 2023, Herbert will be eligible for a contract extension, and he may get a Brinks truck worth of big bucks once he signs his next contract.
Herbert Is Worth Every Penny He Gets
When longtime Chargers QB Philip Rivers left the team following the 2019 campaign, it was the end of an era, and one had to wonder how long it would take them to find their next reliable franchise QB.
Well, in the 2020 NFL Draft, L.A. had the sixth overall pick, a happy byproduct of finishing just 5-11 the previous year.
After the Miami Dolphins, who had the fifth pick, passed on Herbert, he fell right into the Chargers’ laps, and it was like Christmas in springtime for them.
He set an NFL record for most touchdown passes by a rookie, and this past season he ranked towards the top of the league in several key statistical categories.
This throw from Justin Herbert was outrageous 😳 @chargers @Keenan13Allen pic.twitter.com/0Vs10pzvNC
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) September 21, 2021
Two of the most outrageous plays from last season…
Happy Birthday Justin Herbert 😍#NFLUK | @chargers pic.twitter.com/DU0uPDJDvK
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) March 10, 2022
Herbert can still improve, as he ranked third in interceptions thrown and second in pick-sixes.
But he is looking like a player who will almost inevitably win the league MVP award at some point, or at least be in serious contention for it just about every year.
The Market Has Been Set
For a preview of what Herbert could get on his big payday, one only has to look at what happened with Deshaun Watson.
After wanting to be traded by the Houston Texans, he got his wish, as he was sent to the Cleveland Browns.
Upon getting dealt there, he received a five-year contract worth $230 million, which breaks down to an average of about $46 million a year.
One may be able to argue that Herbert is just a little bit better than Watson, and if he is, he could receive even more money.
The other benchmark to look at is Aaron Rodgers, the two-time reigning regular season MVP, who just signed a new four-year, $200 million contract, which makes him the highest-paid player in the NFL on an annual basis.
Given that Herbert is in his early 20s and Rodgers is nearing the end of his career, the former can easily attract the highest annual salary in pro football history.
The Chargers Still Have Cap Space
Even after signing pass rusher Khalil Mack, cornerback J.C. Jackson, and defensive tackle Austin Johnson, L.A. is still reportedly under the salary cap.
#Chargers current cap space sits at $25.8 mil per @spotrac
Is Telesco done making moves? Or.. pic.twitter.com/g821RaUTL4
— Chargers Country (@ChargersCountry) March 22, 2022
The team could carry that space over into next offseason in order to be able to give Herbert a gigantic new contract.
After all, it will have to, because otherwise, as has been seen with Russell Wilson, Adams, and Hill, there’s always a chance he could leave amidst a contract dispute.NEXT: Chargers Remain A Sneaky Super Bowl Contender Next Season