Chargers Lock Star QB Justin Herbert Through 2024, But Decline Option For Another Player

Justin Herbert

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In a move that surprised no one, the Los Angeles Chargers have announced that they have exercised the fifth-year option on quarterback Justin Herbert’s contract, securing his services through the 2024 season.

Herbert, who was the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league since he arrived, and the Chargers clearly see him as their franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future.

While the move was expected, it is still significant as it gives the Chargers another year of team control over Herbert beyond the 2023 season. This is important because Herbert’s extension is projected to be worth more than $50 million per season, which is a significant investment for any team.

By picking up his option, the Chargers can structure their cap hits and plan their finances with more foresight, which could pay dividends down the road.

Head coach Brandon Staley confirmed that the team has been in negotiations with Herbert’s camp, saying, “We’re at the beginning of all that, but all know how we feel about him.” Staley added that talks are ongoing, which suggests that the two sides are working to reach a long-term agreement before the start of the 2023 season.

Since entering the league in 2020, Herbert has thrown for 14,089 yards and 102 total touchdowns, with just 35 interceptions. He has quickly established himself as one of the top young quarterbacks in the game and has helped the Chargers become a legitimate playoff contender.

Murky Future

In addition to the news about Herbert, the Los Angeles Chargers also announced that they have declined to exercise the fifth-year option on linebacker Kenneth Murray’s contract.

Murray, who was selected 23rd overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, has struggled in his first three seasons in the league, and the Chargers have decided not to guarantee him future money beyond the 2023 season.

While Murray has shown flashes of potential, he has been inconsistent and has struggled with missed tackles. Sports Info Solutions charted him with 20 missed tackles last season, which is a troubling number for a linebacker. The Chargers clearly see Murray as a project player, and they will need to see significant improvement from him if he hopes to earn a long-term contract in free agency following the 2023 season.

Murray’s option would have been worth $11.727 million in 2024, which is a significant amount of money for a player who has yet to establish himself as a reliable starter. Instead, Murray will play the 2023 season under his current contract, which pays him a base salary of $2.379 million and counts $4.128 million against the cap.

The Chargers traded up with the New England Patriots to select Murray in the 2020 NFL Draft, giving up multiple draft picks to do so. The Patriots used those picks to select safety Kyle Dugger and edge rusher Josh Uche, both of whom have been more productive than Murray thus far.

Overall, the Chargers’ decision to exercise Herbert’s fifth-year option while declining Murray’s is a clear indication of how they view the two players. Herbert is a franchise quarterback who has quickly established himself as one of the best young players in the league, while Murray is a project player who has yet to prove himself as a reliable starter.

It will be interesting to see how both players perform in the 2023 season and what the Chargers decide to do with them beyond that.