Justin Herbert had one of the greatest rookie seasons for a quarterback in NFL history.
Now that the Los Angeles Chargers have a franchise quarterback with a top-five NFL ceiling, the franchise has begun investing in his health by keeping him off the turf.
On the first day of free agency, the Chargers signed former All-Pro center Corey Linsley to a contract expected to make him the highest-paid player at his position, per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.
Linsely blocked for the reigning NFL MVP, Aaron Rodgers, last season. However, the Packers elected to pay Aaron Jones rather than retain Linsley, despite drafting a running back in the second round last offseason. But, the Packers' bad move is Herbert's good fortune.
While Herbert actually had a stellar 99.4 Pro Football Focus grade while under pressure (1st in the NFL), that's not a sustainable strategy. PFF has found players with high grades under pressure one season tend to crater back to the mean the next season.
Giving the reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year a clean pocket is not only the bst route for his individual success, but for the Los Angeles Chargers to make deep postseason runs, especially when in the same division as Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chargers will only go as far as Herbert will take them. Every single decision over the course of Herbert's rookie contract, if not longer, should be to maximize the Eugene native. Every decision made this offseason should be with the intent to win a Super Bowl during Herbert's rookie contract.
Five of the last eight Super Bowls had a quarterback on its rookie contract starting for one of the teams, with two of them winning the game. It would be one more if Carson Wentz didn't tear his ACL when the Eagles won the championship.
A starting quarterback on a rookie deal is the most valuable asset in the NFL. Los Angeles has that and so far, has made moves to optimize him this offseason.