Chargers GM already backtracking on Justin Herbert extension

The Chargers have their franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert, and whether they like it or not, they’re going to have to pay him like one.

One would imagine that Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is sitting back in his lawn chair right now happily watching this offseason unfold. In the last month, Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts and Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson each got their mega-deals, and their extensions have set a new benchmark for the quarterback market.

Herbert, along with fellow 2020 first-rounder Joe Burrow, represents an up-and-coming quarterbacks in line to receive his own lucrative contract, and he can thank Hurts, Jackson, and a few others for paving the road to payday with gold.

Chargers general manager Tom Telesco recently pointed out that all that glitters is not what it seems, however.

Telesco was asked how previous QB deals may have affected the ongoing negotiations with Herbert, and the main takeaway is that he’s not sweating it too much.

He said:

“I wouldn’t say there is any quarterback contract out there that is a blueprint — I wouldn’t say that at all. But like anything else, there’ll be contracts that’ll be talked about, and we’ll cherry-pick some things out of that contract we like…. But in the end, we’ll get to a compromise at some point. Something that works for everybody.”

Chargers GM looks like a cheapskate after recent comments on Justin Herbert extension

Telesco sure does sound like a penny-pincher when it comes to extending Justin Herbert, yet he has a fair point.

The Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson contracts came out of very different circumstances. Hurts, once written off as a lamentable draft pick, had to work his way up into the Eagles brass’ good graces, and it wasn’t until last season when people were calling him a bona fide franchise quarterback.

As for Jackson, his offseason contract war with the Ravens was well-documented: he went from the exclusive franchise tag to being spurned by several franchises to swallowing his ego and accepting a massive $260 million extension.

Jackson’s deal marked the end of a multi-year tug of war between the dual-threat QB and Baltimore — could Herbert start yanking on the rope in LA soon?

If any deal serves as a blueprint for Herbert, it’ll most likely be Joe Burrow’s. The Cincinnati Bengals quarterback and the Chargers quarterback were drafted in the first round of the 2020 draft, and while Burrow has enjoyed more success at the playoff level, the two signal-callers have made similar crater-sized impacts on their respective franchises in the last three years.

Both Herbert and Burrow appear poised to reset the market with their imminent contract extensions; the Chargers notably picked up Herbert’s fifth-year option to give themselves more time and leeway to negotiate a fair deal.

There’s a time and place to play hardball — take Kirk Cousins’ pressure cooker situation on the Minnesota Vikings, for instance. But doing so with a prized talent like Justin Herbert just screams a recipe for disaster.

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