The Chargers have made multiple large additions to their defense this offseason, but there is still important business to be taken care of with one of the unit’s homegrown players. Safety Derwin James is entering the final year of his rookie contract, but there is reason to believe he will have a new deal by the start of next season.
USA Today’s Tyler Dragon reports (on Twitter) that both James and the team are “cautiously optimistic” a new contract will be negotiated in the near future. It was reported last month that each party was looking to get a long-term deal done, so a lack of friction on the matter (at least for now) doesn’t come as a surprise.
James, 25, has demonstrated the potential he was touted with coming out of college in 2018. He earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in a highly productive rookie season. While he was limited to just five games the following year, he still graded out well in terms of PFF rating. He bounced back from missing the entire 2020 campaign, starting all 15 contests he played in last season.
While dollar figures on a new contract may be hard to speculate on, given the Florida State product’s varied usages and positional versatility, there is cause for optimism that James could join Mike Williams as a key piece to the roster being retained for the long-term future. If that happens, defensive additions such as Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson could help vault the Chargers into true AFC contention.