The lines in the sand in San Diego aren’t only on the beach volleyball courts. Through this offseason, the San Diego Chargers’ front office and management team of first-round pick Joey Bosa have drawn multiple lines in the sand to see who would flinch first. The holdout is the longest since the inception of the Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2011, which implemented a rookie wage scale. The wage scale slots a first-round pick’s salary based on where they were selected from 1-32.
The only sticking point that is possible is how much in guarantees and bonuses a player will receive over the life of his rookie deal. The issue is over offset language. Offset language can be simplified as such: If Bosa is cut or released during his rookie contract the Chargers are off the hook for any remaining salary he was scheduled to make.
Bosa’s management didn’t want any offset language in the contract. It means if Bosa did get cut or released before his rookie deal is up, he would still get paid his full rookie contract, fifth-year option included. Players call it double-dipping, meaning a player is making full salary from his former team and his new team simultaneously.
On Tuesday, the Chargers’ key front office personnel flew to Bosa’s hometown in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to get the deal done. They returned to San Diego at approximately 11:30 a.m. local time without Bosa on the plane. Bosa’s camp rejected the Chargers’ final offer.
Shortly thereafter, the Chargers’ front office issued a press release detailing the specifics of their offer to the public. Taken directly from the Chargers’ official Twitter page, the statement is shown below. Click on the image to enlarge.
Statement from the San Diego Chargers on defensive end Joey Bosa. pic.twitter.com/BayBGeN22x
— San Diego Chargers (@Chargers) August 24, 2016
While fans will be on either side of this ordeal, the Chargers have let the record show — for their fans and, more importantly, for those in the locker room — that they went to Florida to get a deal done and were still rebuffed by Bosa’s management. Both sides are culpable in this standoff.
The Chargers’ publicly stated they knew Bosa was their man since the beginning of the 2015 college football season and his performance in 2015 only solidified their stance. Contract negotiations could have taken place long before the draft to ensure this scenario wouldn’t happen. Such a practice, however, hasn’t been necessary since the new CBA was ratified in 2011.
On the other hand, it can be viewed as arrogant and selfish that Bosa demands his full signing bonus in year one and his contract fully guaranteed regardless of whether he is still on the team at the end of his rookie contract. What does he have to hide? If he is as good as he thinks he is and the Chargers’ are as high on him as they have stated in the past, the chances of him getting cut or released are minuscule at best.
Everyone understands the shelf life of an NFL player is short and by all means, negotiate to maximize as much of your perceived worth as possible. In the end, you’re only worth what a team is willing to pay. Bosa is going to get the worth of his full rookie contract anyway; just over time. To ask for what no other Chargers’ player has (full signing bonus up front and no offset language) is setting a bad precedent for the present and the future.
More lines in the sand…
With their best offer shot down, the Chargers’ have pulled the offer from the table and will henceforth revise the deal based on the viewpoint that he will likely not be ready to take the field for Week one on the road in Kansas City. Now, the choice for Bosa is to sit out the season, miss out on millions of dollars and re-enter the draft in 2017 or sign and begin rebuilding a damaged relationship with the team, fans and front office.
All of a sudden, a shrug seems to be a perfect personification of how this negotiation has gone for both sides…
The sooner Bosa realizes he’s still a rookie that hasn’t played an official NFL down the better off he will be. In my opinion, he needs to swallow his pride, get on the field and prove his worth. When it’s time to negotiate the second contract, make all the demands you want. What do you think Bolt Nation? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One