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Chargers QB Justin Herbert (shoulder) 'getting closer to 75 percent' in long recovery, downplays contract talk after Lamar Jackson deal

All things considered, Justin Herbert had a nice little Thursday.

The Los Angeles Chargers' franchise quarterback is getting healthier, a first-round talent was added to his receiving corps, and one of his QB contemporaries got a huge contract -- which certainly bodes well for him.

Coming off January surgery on his non-throwing left shoulder to mend a torn labrum, Herbert said Thursday he was "getting closer to 75 percent," per The Athletic.

Herbert is aware that he doesn't have a quick recovery in front of him, but is hopeful to start throwing again "in the next couple of weeks," per ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry.

"It's a pretty long process," he said at the Chargers' draft party, via Thiry. "Kind of expecting it to be a five- or six-month recovery and being on the lead shoulder, it's kind of tough throwing and golfing and doing all those things that are kind of explosive movements."

An injury update wasn't the only topic for Herbert or the Chargers on Thursday.

Shortly before the 2023 NFL Draft kicked off, the Baltimore Ravens and QB Lamar Jackson worked out a massive five-year, $260 million extension. With Herbert (and Cincinnati Bengals signal-caller Joe Burrow) seemingly next in line on the QB cash carousel, he's downplaying any contract talk and concentrating on healing up.

"I'm just worried about playing football and doing my best to rehab my shoulder," he said.

The 2020 Associated Press NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and a 2021 Pro Bowler, the 25-year-old is due $4.23 million in base salary in 2023 and $29.5 million in 2024 if (and when) his fifth-year option is picked up. The No. 6 pick in the 2020 draft doesn't trouble himself too much with all of that, though.

"I'm kind of left out of those negotiations, and I think my job now, my focus is to be the best quarterback that I can be and to rehab my shoulder," Herbert said. "I've got complete faith in the Chargers organization and the front office. They've done such a great job of taking care of us as players, and I've loved to be a part of this team, being a part of this organization, and it's kind of beyond my control of as to what happens now."

What happens going forward could well be a bump in offensive production, as Herbert's WR stable -- which already features Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Joshua Palmer -- was bolstered with the first-round addition of TCU wideout Quentin Johnston on Thursday night.

The big-play receiver, who was taken 21st overall, is amped to play with Herbert, which increased his initial excitement when he got the call from the Bolts.

"Great quarterback," Johnston said Friday night, via team transcript. "I saw the call pop up and I'm like, 'OK, that's a great quarterback to be playing under.' I shouldn't have any problem coming in early and adjusting, soaking up as much stuff as I can from him as far as just football in general. I feel like I need to come in, as a young guy, as a sponge, taking in as much information as I need to. Then, eventually, clicking with the quarterback and gaining that trust from him."

So, Herbert's got plenty to be optimistic about and plenty on his offseason checklist: Heal up, build chemistry with a first-round WR and get paid.

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