Chargers coach praises Derwin James as contract talks proceed

The Chargers stay in extended contract extension talks with Derwin James Jr., one in every of their defensive stars.

After a 14th consecutive missed training-camp observe Tuesday, James’ head coach supplied a glowing endorsement of the two-time Professional Bowl participant and maybe a glimpse into the negotiations.

“I don’t look at Derwin as a safety,” Brandon Staley stated. “I look at Derwin as an impact player. If you were just looking at him as a safety, that wouldn’t be doing Derwin justice. For me, I look at him as a defensive back.”

Staley then went into element, explaining that James can play both security place, exterior cornerback, slot nook or linebacker within the Chargers’ dime bundle.

He additionally famous that James can rush the quarterback as a blitzer and have an effect on the sport in both zone or man-to-man protection.

And he’s our signal-caller and the heartbeat of our defense,” Staley added.

That kind of sweeping versatility and accountability may very well be a part of the explanation James stays a non-participant in observe whereas nonetheless being current for walkthroughs and group conferences.

Negotiating on James’ behalf means negotiating for a participant who, in some very clear methods, is redefining his place.

Amongst NFL safeties, Pittsburgh’s Minkah Fitzpatrick has the best annual common wage at $18.2 million and Seattle’s Jamal Adams essentially the most assured cash at $38 million.

However when including in cornerbacks, the numbers swell. Inexperienced Bay’s Jaire Alexander is making a mean wage of $21 million a yr, whereas Cleveland’s Denzel Ward has $71.25 million in complete ensures.

Someplace amid all these numbers, James and the Chargers are nonetheless looking for an answer.

Derwin James Jr., left, talks to Sebastian Joseph-Day through the Chargers’ preseason recreation with the Rams on Saturday.

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Occasions)

“If you just looked at him as a safety playing safety, you wouldn’t look at him the same way you do as a defensive back,” Staley stated. “He has the rare combination of all those factors, plus the intangibles of impacting the defense and the team on every snap.”

The Chargers will observe with Dallas on Wednesday and Thursday in Costa Mesa earlier than the groups face each other in a preseason recreation Saturday evening at SoFi Stadium.

After that, the Chargers have one week of coaching camp left, culminating of their preseason finale Aug. 26 at New Orleans.

So, it will appear, the clock is about to begin ticking only a contact louder with regard to James having sufficient time to be prepared for the beginning of the season.

Staley, nevertheless, downplayed any such considerations, citing a really particular instance from his previous.

On Sept. 1, 2018, Staley was Chicago’s exterior linebackers coach when the Bears traded for Khalil Mack. Eight days later, Mack had a sack, precipitated and recovered a fumble and returned an interception for a landing in his debut with the group.

Mack then went on to have the third of his three All-Professional seasons.

“When we traded for Khalil in Chicago, Khalil did not have an offseason,” Staley stated. “He did not have a training camp. He showed up one week before the first game and had the game of his life …

“If you know guys like Derwin and Khalil, they’re going to be ready. And, no matter when this happens, Derwin’s going to be ready. And we can’t wait for that time when it comes.”

One distinction in these instances is the well being historical past of the participant in query. Coming into 2018, Mack had not missed a recreation in his first 4 NFL seasons. James was restricted to 5 video games in 2019 and missed all of 2020 due to harm.

Nonetheless, Staley stated he has no considerations about James and his well being when he does return.

“Derwin’s given us no reason to worry because of how he is on a day-to-day basis,” Staley defined. “We see him every day. It’d be one thing if he wasn’t here. But we see him every day. He’s in the best shape of his life. … He feels great. That gives us a lot of confidence.”

Different observations

The Chargers practiced for barely greater than 90 minutes Tuesday in preparation for his or her joint periods with the Cowboys. Some observations:

— Veteran Michael Davis continued to work with the first-team protection over Asante Samuel Jr. on the exterior cornerback spot reverse J.C. Jackson.

“We feel like they’re both starting-caliber corners,” Staley stated. “… That’s good for our football team. We wanted it to be an open competition. It has been. It’s going to continue to be. Those guys are both playing well for us.”

— Davis intercepted a go thrown by Justin Herbert to the left aspect supposed for DeAndre Carter in 11-on-11.

— Mack had an lively day, disrupting a handful of runs and reaching Herbert a minimum of as soon as on a play that may have resulted in a sack beneath stay situations.

— Second-year tight finish Tre’ McKitty had two dropped passes.

— Herbert had a muffed snap and failed to finish a go in 4 makes an attempt beneath some determined circumstances through the two-minute portion of 11-on-11.

— Chase Daniel hit Carter for a 75-yard landing within the two-minute drill because the No. 1 protection had a big breakdown within the secondary.