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Chargers to make All-Pro Corey Linsley highest-paid center in league

Justin Herbert is getting a new center, and it's a good one.

The Chargers have agreed to a five-year, $62.5 million deal with All-Pro center Corey Linsley, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo reported, per sources informed of the situation. The contract will pay Linsley $26 million over his first two seasons with his new team, Garafolo added.

After spending his first seven seasons in Green Bay, Linsley is cashing in with this lucrative deal at 29 years old, something he'd signaled he saw coming in his final weeks spent in Green Bay, where the Packers simply couldn't afford to keep him. It's money well spent for a center who was the best in the NFL in 2020, finishing with the top offensive grade at the position, per Pro Football Focus, to go along with his first career All-Pro honor.

Linsley becomes the highest-paid center in the NFL, edging out Colts center Ryan Kelly ($12.412 million per year) with his new average annual value of $12.5 million.

Los Angeles is adding the No. 10 free agent on Gregg Rosenthal's Top 101 list in Linsley, who has started all 99 games in which he's appeared in his professional career. Despite turning 30 in July, the Chargers are opening the coffers for one of the game's most important positions less than a year after discovering they'd drafted their franchise quarterback in Herbert.

What was once seen as a looming weakness for the Chargers and new head coach Brandon Staley is now a strength, at least at one of the three interior positions. Linsley steps in to replace veteran Mike Pouncey and gives Herbert a center with whom he can build a rapport as the Chargers attempt to return to contention in the years ahead.

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