On the heels of a Pro Bowl season where he had over 100 tackles, two interceptions and three forced fumbles, Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James has established himself as one of the best safeties in the league.
Now the Chargers are ready to pay him like one. According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, the Chargers are signing James to a four-year contract that will make him the highest-paid safety in NFL history.
Per the report, the new deal will pay James an average of $19 million per year. $42 million is guaranteed and the first year of the deal will pay James $29 million - the highest payout for a safety in a single year.
2021 was an incredible season for James as he made 118 tackles, 2.0 sacks, two interceptions, three forced fumbles, five passes defended, seven tackles for loss and seven QB hits. He did all of that one year removed from suffering a torn meniscus.
At Florida State, Derwin James was a First-Team All-American and a two-time All-ACC selection. The Chargers took him No. 17 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, where he became an immediate impact player on their defense.
James earned Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro honors as a rookie that year, finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting in the process.
Injuries limited James to just five games between 2019 and 2020 though. But it's clear that the man is too good to be kept down for long.
Is Derwin James the best safety in the NFL right now?