Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert was a revelation during his rookie season and proved in Year 2 that he has the talent and staying power to be one of the next young faces of the NFL.
With an Offensive Rookie of the Year award on his shelf and a trip to Pro Bowl in 2021, Herbert will soon enter the line of quarterbacks set to receive a massive extension. He becomes eligible for one next offseason.
Herbert told CBS Sports’ Jeff Kerr that he’s not worried about that eventuality.
“We haven’t discussed anything but I’ve been so fortunate to play for the Chargers,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens. I’m just so excited to be here and play football. This has been a great opportunity and I don’t wish it went any other way.
“I love that I was drafted here and that I have been able to play here. I think we’re doing all the right things. I believe in the staff, all the teammates, the front office. So all I can do is hope for the best. It’s out of my control, but I’ll keep playing football.”
The 24-year-old is scheduled to make $7.25 million this year and $8.46 million in 2023. The Chargers also hold the fifth-year option for 2024. With QB contracts continuing to rise and the likes of Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson still in line to get paid, Herbert’s price should only increase.
Herbert generated 5,014 passing yards (second in NFL) and 38 passing touchdowns (third) in 2021. He became the first QB of all time to pass for 30-plus TDs in each of his first two seasons. After netting 9,350 yards and 69 passing TDs in his first two seasons, Herbert needs 3,608 yards and 30 TDs to set the records for most in a player’s first three seasons — Andrew Luck (12,957 yards), Dan Marino (98 TDs).
With a cannon for an arm and fearlessness in the pocket, Herbert has proven he can pick apart any defense. His 2,290 passing yards under pressure are the most in the NFL since 2020, per Next Gen Stats.
Even after a dominant first two seasons, Herbert continues to work on his craft this offseason.
“A lot of it is footwork. I think I can continue to step up in the pocket, feel pressure and get the ball out,” he said. “I think if you can remain calm in the pocket, go through all your reads, and find a tailback if all else fails. I think that’s the huge part about playing quarterback and (Chargers quarterbacks coach) Shane Day and all the quarterbacks in our room have been working on that a bunch.
“And just being comfortable and moving. Small, quick movements and being able to get the ball out. I think that’s been really helpful too.”
On a Chargers team that improved its defense this offseason, if Herbert continues to dominate in a rugged AFC West and carries L.A. to the playoffs, he’ll be in contention for the NFL MVP. Of course, that would make those contract talks to come next offseason even more interesting.
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