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Inside the Derwin James deal

Derwin James has a brand new contract with the Chargers that reportedly makes him the highest paid safety in the NFL, but Chris Simms is still leery about the injury history of the versatile "superstar."

Chargers safety Derwin James successfully ended his hold in by cashing in, big time.

We’ve gotten a look at the full deal, thanks to a source with knowledge of the contract. It’s a four-year extension of the final year of his first-round rookie deal from 2018.

Here are the details, in full:

1. Signing bonus: $20.532 million.

2. 2022 base salary: $4.052 million, fully guaranteed.

3. 2023 option bonus: $12 million, fully guaranteed.

4. 2023 base salary: $2 million, fully guaranteed.

5. 2024 base salary: $12.75 million, $3.415 million of which is fully guaranteed by early 2023.

6. 2025 90-man offseason roster bonus: $3 million.

7. 2025 base salary: $13.75 million.

8. 2026 90-man offseason roster bonus: $3 million.

9. 2026 base salary: $14.5 million.

It’s a four-year, $76 million extension. That translates to a new-money average of $19 million. Of that amount, $38.584 million is fully guaranteed at signing. Another $3.415 million becomes guaranteed by 2023, pushing the total to $42 million.

Over five years, it’s a deal that pays out $85.584 million, and average at signing of $17.116 million.

James is guaranteed two years, with that extra bit that trickles into 2024. The final two seasons, at $16.75 million an $17.5 million, are essentially year-to-year options for the Chargers.

It’s a great deal for James. It pushes the injury risk to the Chargers, and there’s reason to be concerned about injury based on his first four years in the NFL. In 2019, he missed 11 games. In 2020, he missed the whole season.

But when he’s healthy, he’s among the best defensive players in the league. Coach Brandon Staley basically said that the other day. If you feel that way about the player, the team has no choice but to pay him accordingly.