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Chargers QB Justin Herbert optimistic about contract situation

Mon Jun 5 7:50pm ET
Field Level Media

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert knows he will be a rich man sometime in the near future, but he can't tell you when he will agree to a big-money contract with the club.

Herbert addressed his situation on Monday at the team's charity golf tournament in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., saying he has faith the organization will make everything work.

"They've done such a great job of taking care of us and my message really hasn't changed," Herbert told reporters. "It's been an honor to be a part of this team. It's great to come to events like this and whatever happens, happens and it's out of my control at this point."

Herbert has seen the salary landscape rise this offseason with Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles landing a five-year, $255 million deal, and Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens topping that with a five-year, $260 million package.

Herbert, slated to earn $4.23 million in 2023, underwent surgery in January to repair a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder. The club has exercised his fifth-year option of $29.5 million for the 2024 season.

The injury situation leads observers to wonder whether Herbert would be fine with playing his fourth NFL season without an extension being signed.

"That's a good question. I think that's something you have to address and you have to think about," Herbert said. "My job at this point is just to play quarterback and to be the best leader, quarterback and teammate that I can be. So I'm doing everything I can to rehab, get back and make sure my shoulder is ready for this season."

The 25-year-old Herbert recently resumed throwing and is forecast to be ready to go well before the start of the 2023 season.

"I feel a lot better," Herbert said. "The shoulder is holding up, been able to lift quite a bit more, conditioning, so picking up more, especially upper body-wise. So it has been tough. It's an unlike any other offseason for me, but you have to find a way to make it work."

Herbert has passed for 14,089 yards, 94 touchdowns and 35 interceptions in 49 games (all starts) over his first three NFL seasons.

Chargers coach Brandon Staley said Monday that he expects running back Austin Ekeler to participate in next week's mandatory minicamp.

Ekeler sought permission to seek a trade earlier this offseason but the club recently added $1.75 million in incentives for this season, when he is slated to earn $6.25 million in base pay. Ekeler is slated to become a free agent after the season when his four-year, $24.5 million deal concludes.

"It's best for everybody," Staley said. "It's best for him and best for us because you want to get joined up so that you can go have a productive training camp and really formulate your team and your identity going into the season."

New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has raved about Ekeler's fit in his offense. Ekeler led the NFL with 18 total touchdowns (13 rushing, five receiving) last season and tied for the league high of 20 with Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts in 2021.

Ekeler rushed for 915 yards last season as well as establishing career highs for receptions (107) and receiving yardage (722).

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Chase Edmonds Jun 6 9:13am ET
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Von Miller Jun 6 8:50am ET
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