We’re halfway through the preseason schedule, and the San Diego Chargers still haven’t been able to sign their first round draft pick and third overall, Joey Bosa. As part of the media battle and negotiations between the team and player, the Chargers are making it known they’re prepared to begin the season without him.
While the two sides are talking (not something to take for granted given the long period of silence), there’s no progress. The Chargers want Bosa to accept the offset language in the contract, which would mean they’re off the hook if he doesn’t stay on the team for the entirety of the contract, in terms of guaranteed money. The Chargers also want Bosa’s bonus money to be deferred, and not give it all in one go, which is something Bosa and his camp are insisting on.
Bosa and his reps are willing to accept one of the two, but not both. Four of the top 10 draft picks in this year’s draft will receive most or all of their signing bonuses in 2016, so Bosa doesn’t see why it’s such a problem, although the Chargers are known for having long holdouts with high draft picks, and being quite stingy when it comes to bonus money.
Todd France, Bosa’s agent, wants the Chargers to give him all of the signing bonus in one go, all $17 million of it, and then Bosa will agree to the offset language in the contract. The Chargers want to give a big chunk of the bonus next March. How much? They’re probably going for 60% this season, 40% next season, which is the same kind of split Bosa’s Ohio State teammate got when he signed with the Dallas Cowboys.
There’s this perception that because Bosa comes from a wealthy home, he is in no hurry to sign the deal. One thing worth keeping track of: If Bosa doesn’t sign a contract by week 10 of this season, he can’t play for the Chargers or anyone else, and will re-enter the draft in 2017 once more. For now, at least from what head coach Mike McCoy is saying, they’re planning on having him, but also making plans for the situation in which Bosa doesn’t show up for the season opener.