Chargers head coach Brandon Staley told reporters Wednesday that the two sides are working through James’ contract situation and that James won’t go “full speed” until it’s resolved.
James, who is in the final year of his rookie deal and eligible for an extension, is scheduled to make a little over $ 9 million during the 2022 season.
Chargers star defensive end Joey Bosa would undoubtedly love to have his teammate in the defensive backfield but also thinks James is making the right move by holding off on practice until he receives a new contract.
“He’s, I think, doing the right thing,” Bosa said, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. “He obviously deserves whatever he’s gonna get. He puts in 100% every single day. He’s just making the best decision for him right now.
“But the fact that he’s out here coaching the guys, fully involved, 100% locked in every day, it obviously means a lot to all of us. I’m sure the coaches see it and really appreciate it.”
Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, who made his fifth Pro Bowl in 2021, didn’t seem concerned about the negotiations as Los Angeles began its training camp this week.
“I’m pretty sure they’ll get that handled,” Allen said of negotiations between the Chargers and James’ representatives. “That’s a guy that we definitely need. He’s the heart of the defense, heart of the team pretty much.”
James was selected by the Chargers with the 17th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, making the NFL All-Rookie Team and the Pro Bowl, and he was selected as a first-team All-Pro in his first NFL season.
Injuries hampered James the next two seasons, but a bounce-back season in 2021 earned James his second Pro Bowl appearance.