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Chargers give Derwin James record 4-year extension: Source

The Los Angeles Chargers and safety Derwin James have agreed to a four-year contract extension that will make him the highest-paid safety in the NFL, a source with knowledge of the deal confirmed to The Athletic.

The contract is worth $76.5 million, including $42 million guaranteed. James will earn $29 million in the first year of the deal, a source tells The Athletic’s Jeff Howe.

The 26-year-old had not participated in Chargers training camp practices due to his contract situation and this extension should end his “hold-in.”

James was set to enter the final year of his rookie deal and was looking for a contract that would make him the highest-paid safety. The Steelers’ Minkah Fitzpatrick previously was the league’s top-paid safety after signing a four-year, $73.6 million deal in June. James’ new contract nets him over $19 million annually, according to reports.

The first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft is coming off of his second Pro Bowl season, which saw him tally 118 tackles, two interceptions, two sacks and three forced fumbles.

He missed the 2020 season with a knee injury and missed 11 games in 2019. James had shoulder surgery after the Pro Bowl in February. He suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder early last season that he played through.

James is coming off one of his best seasons in terms of pass coverage. He only yielded a 63.7 passer rating when targeted and allowed a 56.7 completion percentage, via Pro Football Reference. Both totals are single-season career bests for James. He also became a more productive tackler when given the chance with 118 total tackles and a 7.1 percent missed tackle rate in 2021, which are two more single-season career bests.

James rated very well in Sports Info Solutions’ “Total Points Saved” metric as well last season. He ranked fourth among all safeties in the category only behind the TitansKevin Byard, the Cardinals’ Jalen Thompson and the Buccaneers’ Antoine Winfield.

(Photo: Kirby Lee / USA Today)

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