San Diego Chargers: Joey Bosa Declines ‘Best Offer’

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego Chargers first round pick Joey Bosa is the only first round pick who has not signed his rookie contract to this point.

If the current developments are a sign of things to come, Bosa will remain unsigned for quite some time.

The dispute between the Chargers and Bosa is not over how much money the former Ohio State star will earn. Rather, the two sides are fighting over two key details: Offset language, and when Bosa will receive his signing bonus.

Bosa has essentially been holding out since July 28. He has not been in camp, and he has not played in any of the Chargers’ preseason games. The team now feels that Bosa likely won’t play all 16 games of the 2016 regular season because he has missed so much time on the practice field.

On Tuesday, the Chargers reportedly presented what they felt was their best offer. Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported the details. Bosa’s contract calls for a $17 million signing bonus. Once again, neither side disputes that. The disagreement is over when Bosa would receive that money. When Bosa began his holdout, the Union-Tribune reports the Chargers were only willing to pay 57 percent of the bonus in this calendar year.

However, San Diego has now upped that amount to 85 percent of the $17 million in this calendar year. Still, though, no deal was reached, and sources told the Union-Tribune the two sides are, “nowhere.”

The Chargers, in an update to their fans and perhaps an effort to put the squeeze on Bosa’s camp, issued a statement on Wednesday.

“Our contract discussions and offers to the representatives of Joey Bosa have been both fair and structurally consistent with the contracts of every other Chargers player.

Our offer included:

  • An initial signing bonus payment that is larger than any player in the league has received in the last two drafts.
  • More money in this calendar year than every player in this year’s draft except one (QB Carson Wentz)
  • The largest payment and the highest percentage of signing bonus received in the first calendar year of any Chargers’ first round selection since the inception of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (2011)

We gave Joey representatives our best offer (Tuesday night) which was rejected (Wednesday). The offer that we extended was for Joey to contribute during all 16 games and beyond. Joey’s ability to contribute for an entire rookie season has now been jeopardized by the valuable time he has missed with his coaches and his teammates. Since Joey will not report at this time, his ability to produce not just early in the season, but throughout the entire season, has been negatively impacted.

As a result, we will restructure our offer since Joey will be unable to contribute for the full 16 game season without the adequate time on the practice field, in the classroom, and in preseason games.”

Chargers draft picks holding out isn’t new, but draft pick holdouts overall have become rare since the inception of the 2011 CBA. At its core, this is two sides, each with firm beliefs, who have dug in behind their point of view. The Chargers feel they’ve made concessions in negotiations, and that Bosa hasn’t conceded enough.

While he isn’t speaking publicly, it’s clear that Bosa isn’t enticed by the Chargers’ offer, or he would have signed on the dotted line by now. This brings up a few questions. Will the Chargers, in the coming months, make the offer more enticing for Bosa? Or will they draw a line at what they’ve deemed their best offer?

The next question, which at this point is legitimate, is does Bosa actually want to play for San Diego? Earlier this month, Bosa’s mother posted a blunt message on Facebook. “We wish we pulled an Eli Manning,” Bosa’s mother wrote. Of course, Manning refused to play for the Chargers despite being selected No. 1 overall.

Perhaps Bosa feels insulted to the point where he’d rather sit out than play for the Chargers. If that’s the case, Bosa only has one option. He can sit out the 2016 season, wait out the 2017 offseason, and then re-enter the 2017 draft. He almost assuredly would not be a top 3 pick in the 2017 draft, but he would get a fresh start with a new team.

At this point, that’s a long way off.

But if the Chargers and Bosa don’t meet somewhere in the middle at some point, it may become a realistic possibility.

The Chargers seem prepared to go into the season without Bosa in the picture. Bosa is inclined to sit out until the Chargers present what his camp deems a viable offer. From the sounds of it, the two sides are not close, and this may come down to which side blinks first.

If neither side blinks, though, Bosa’s Chargers tenure may end up being similar to Manning’s Chargers tenure or John Elway’s Colts tenure.

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