Derwin James was poised to have a big third season for the Los Angeles Chargers, but that's after he suffered a meniscus injury during practice on Sunday. He's expected to be out for a while. The safety is a budding star but missed 11 games last season thanks to a foot injury. A breakout was expected in 2020. That may be on hold.
This is an enormous blow to the Chargers' defense. James was a sleeper Defensive Player of the Year candidate this season and is the team's top-playmaker on that side of the ball. With an offense essentially starting over after the departure of Philip Rivers, the defense needed to be elite for the Chargers to make a playoff run in the AFC West.
James is a legit stud safety who could be a star, so his injury isn't just a big blow to the Chargers, it's bad for the NFL as well.
Nasir Adderley, Rayshawn Jenkins, Desmond King and Alohi Gilman at safety with James injured. Someone is going to have to step up.
On top of the considerations for 2020, it's worth noting that with a good campaign, James was likely in line for a pretty big contract extension. Now that's up in the air. He'll be a fourth-year player in 2021, and the Chargers hold a fifth-year option for 2022. They will almost certainly pick that up and have to delay an extension if he's out for a while.