This past Los Angeles Chargers' season ended in one of the most outrageous ways imaginable. The team had a 27-0 lead over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Wild Card round, only to end up losing 31-30. The Chargers managed a mere three points in the final 34:25 of the game and blew a massive lead despite managing four takeaways to Jacksonville's zero. The Jaguars' victory is the third-largest comeback in NFL playoff history.
But the Chargers are ready to put the historic collapse behind them. A day before the start of the Chargers' training camp, the team offered quarterback Justin Herbert a five-year, $262.5 million contract extension. The deal includes a no-trade clause and features $133.7 million in guarantees and $193.7 million in guarantees.
Herbert is now the highest-paid quarterback in NFL history in terms of average annual salary. He'll make $52.5 million per season. It likely raises the price for Cincinnati to retain Joe Burrow, who's in the midst of his own contract negotiations. Herbert's deal will eventually also help out Trevor Lawrence, who led the Jaguars to that impressive comeback over the Chargers.
It's the third contract worth more than a quarter-billion dollars given out to a quarterback this offseason. Fresh off a Super Bowl appearance, Jalen Hurts received a five-year, $255 million deal from the Philadelphia Eagles. And, after a prolonged contract dispute, Lamar Jackson got a five-year, $260 million extension from the Baltimore Ravens.
The Chargers took Herbert with the sixth overall pick during the 2020 NFL Draft. He's achieved several milestones already, recording the most completions (1,316) and passing yards (14,089) of any quarterback in his first three seasons. He's also thrown for 94 touchdowns over those three years.
Last season was the first time Herbert reached the playoffs, and the defeat will give him plenty of motivation heading into this season. He still had two years left on his rookie deal, but the Chargers were determined to lock him up for the long term. Now, he'll remain on the team through the 2029 campaign.
Herbert was set to make $4.23 million this upcoming season. Instead, he'll earn quadruple that ($17.1 million) thanks to a significant signing bonus from the new deal. And he'll have his sights set on getting the Chargers back to the postseason; they haven't made back-to-back trips since a stretch from 2006 to 2009.
This time, if the Chargers go up big, we bet they'll be a bit more aggressive in keeping that lead. They've certainly got the quarterback to make it happen.