Los Angeles Chargers and QB Justin Herbert open contract negotiations

PHOENIX – The Los Angeles Chargers and quarterback Justin Herbert have entered negotiations regarding a long-term contract extension.

“Those talks are ongoing,” coach Brandon Staley said at the NFL's annual league meeting. “We’re at the beginning of all that, but all know how we feel about him.”

Herbert, 25, became eligible to negotiate and sign a deal at the conclusion of the season.

During the 2022 season, Herbert passed 2012 No. 1 pick Andrew Luck for the most passing yards through a quarterback's first three seasons. The 2020 No. 6 pick has amassed 14,089 passing yards and 94 touchdowns with 35 interceptions, and last season, he led the Chargers to their first playoff berth since 2018.

He is expected to earn an extension worth more than $50 million per season in a quarterback market that is anticipated to bustle with the Cincinnati Bengals' Joe Burrow and Philadelphia Eagles' Jalen Hurts, both of whom have made Super Bowl appearances, also being eligible to sign extensions.

Currently, only Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers makes over $50 million per season at $50.27 million, according to ESPN's Roster Management System.

“Navigating this process, we have a very good relationship with his team,” Staley said. “I’m confident that Justin Herbert is going to be our quarterback for a long time and that we’ll make sure that we get a deal done.”

The Chargers organization have not shared a timeline in which they would like to strike a deal but have expressed optimism about the situation.

“[We’ve got to] just be patient,” Staley said when asked if he would like a deal done before training camp. “But the major takeaway is that Justin Herbert is going to be our quarterback, and we’re so excited that he is leading our franchise.”

Herbert is scheduled to earn $4.23 million in the fourth season of his rookie deal.

The Chargers still must exercise the fifth-year option, something general manager Tom Telesco called a “formality,” indicating it would be done ahead of the May 1 deadline.

Herbert this season will be under the guidance of new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who was hired Jan. 30, shortly after he parted ways with the Dallas Cowboys.

“We know the physical talent. He obviously does a tremendous job,” Moore said of Herbert at his introductory news conference. “I’m really, really excited to be able to work with him.”

After undergoing surgery on the labrum in his left shoulder on Jan. 25, it remains unclear what Herbert’s participation level will be when the Chargers open their offseason program next month, with workouts starting in late May.

“I don't know when exactly he'll be cleared,” Telesco said. “We’ll kind of see where he is as we get into like probably more May 1.”

Telesco, however, did not express any concern about Herbert’s recovery.

“Good thing is, his surgery is a common surgery,” Telesco said. “Just kind of see where he is in his rehab and see what we’re actually doing on the field.”