That deal resets the market for his position, making him the highest-paid safety in terms of annual average value.
His lucrative contract beats the deal signed by Minkah Fitzpatrick earlier this offseason by roughly $900,000 annually.
Chargers fans couldn’t help but be excited after this deal has pushed through.
DERWIN JAMES GOT THAT MONAAYYYYYYYY BOLT UP!!!!! pic.twitter.com/ubUHuX4MYN
— Tha_Frederation △⃒⃘ ⚡️ (@Tha_Frederation) August 17, 2022
— Bree'Aunna (@calibornbree) August 17, 2022
But the former Florida State standout did earn the money after a strong 2021 performance.
After playing just five games in 2019 due to a stress fracture on his right foot and missing out on the 2020 season due to a torn meniscus, James finished last season with 75 solo tackles, two sacks, five passes defended, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles.
Those numbers were enough to get him a second Pro Bowl and second First-Team All-Pro nomination.
More importantly, James played 15 games to avoid this situation.
He also continued to participate in training camp even if his contract was in the works.
As soon as the deal was confirmed, James got congratulatory messages from his fellow NFL players.
Why James Deserves Such An Extension
First off, he is one of the more versatile defensive backs in the league, and here’s an explanation from Chargers head coach Brandon Staley.
Here’s what Brandon Staley had to say about Derwin James yesterday: pic.twitter.com/8bfR7Brnfe
— Nick Cothrel (@NickCothrel) August 17, 2022
To see Staley’s comments on video, here’s one shared by ESPN NFL Analyst Jordan Reid.
Derwin James was an instant impact player as soon as he stepped foot in the NFL. When healthy, he’s the definition of a versatile safety.pic.twitter.com/Nl2LFhXfDH
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) August 17, 2022
But as great as James is, some football fans didn’t expect him to become the highest-paid player at his position.
Pretty strong deal for Derwin James. Wasn’t expecting him to break past $19 mil APY but when things drag on this long one side has to break and seems like the Chargers did. Getting a record breaking GTD structure is something I was expecting and talked about earlier in the summer https://t.co/WXca6HjinO
— Arjun Menon (@arjunmenon100) August 17, 2022
Beyond James, the credit also goes to the Chargers for building a team that will be great for a long time.