Large spatial-scale effects of climate extremes on gross primary production (GPP), the largest terrestrial carbon flux, are highly uncertain even as these extremes increase in frequency and extent. Here we report the impacts of spring warming and summer drought in 2012 on GPP across the contiguous United States (CONUS) using estimates from four GPP models: Vegetation Photosynthesis Model (VPM), MOD17A2H V006, Carnegie-Ames-Stanford Approach, and Simple Biosphere/Carnegie-Ames-Stanford Approach. VPM simulations are driven by Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, North American Regional Reanalysis climate data, and C3 and C4 cropland maps from the United States Department of Agriculture Cropland Data Layer data set. Across 25 eddy covariance flux tower sites, GPP estimates from VPM (GPPVPM) showed better accuracy in terms of cross-site variability and interannual variability (R2 = 0.84 and 0.46, respectively) when compared to MOD17 GPP. We further assessed the spatial and temporal (seasonal) consistency between GPP products and the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment-2 solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence over CONUS during 2008–2014. The results suggested that GPPVPM agrees best with solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence across space and time, capturing seasonal dynamics and interannual variations. Anomaly analyses showed that increased GPP during the spring compensated for the reduced GPP during the summer, resulting in near-neutral changes in annual GPP for the CONUS. This study demonstrates the importance of assessing the impacts of different types and timing of climate extremes on GPP and the need to improve light use efficiency models by incorporating C3 and C4 plant functional types.