ROLLING HILLS ESTATES, Calif. — Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley described contract negotiations with quarterback Justin Herbert as “ongoing” Monday ahead of teeing off at the team’s charity golf tournament.
Herbert, who was unable to participate in the scramble as he continues to recover from offseason left shoulder surgery, said he did not believe much had changed since he last provided an update — in April during the NFL draft — but expressed continued “faith” in the organization.
“They’ve done such a great job of taking care of us and my message really hasn’t changed,” Herbert said. “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, entering the fourth season of his five-year rookie contract, is scheduled to earn $4.23 million. He became eligible to sign a long-term extension at the conclusion of the 2022 season.
The quarterback market this offseason took shape after Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts signed a five-year, $255 million contract and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson signed a five-year, $260 million deal.
Neither the Chargers nor Herbert, who turned 25 in March, have provided a timeline as to when they would like to reach an agreement.
Herbert was asked Monday whether he would be OK playing his fourth season without a new contract.
“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.”
Herbert suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder in the team’s Week 17 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. He underwent surgery in January after exiting the playoffs with the 31-30 wild-card loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Recently during organized team activities, Herbert returned to throwing in individual drills.
“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.”
Running back Austin Ekeler is expected to return to the Chargers next week during mandatory minicamp after the team added incentives to his contract.
Staley expressed relief that a deal was reached ahead of training camp with Ekeler, who earlier this offseason said he was underpaid and sought permission to seek a trade.
“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.”
Ekeler, who led the NFL with 18 touchdowns last season, is entering the final season of a four-year $24.5 million deal. He is scheduled to earn $6.25 million in 2023, but the Chargers added $1.75 million in incentives.
“He’s a staple of this team and we’re certainly a lot better football team with him,” Staley said.
Herbert’s contract talks with Chargers ‘ongoing,’ Staley says