The San Diego Chargers at long last came to terms with rookie defensive end Joey Bosa, ending weeks of negotiations and public sniping between the player and his representatives and the franchise. The deal was signed on Monday, with the season opener less than two weeks away, and left many NFL observers scratching their heads.
Bosa, who San Diego selected with the No. 3 overall pick in April’s draft, was holding out throughout training camp as he and the Chargers disagreed on the amount of guaranteed money he would receive up front. It was the Chargers who eventually caved and handed Bosa a four-year, $25.8 million deal that includes a $17 million signing bonus, the richest in the team’s history.
Originally, the Chargers believed it was “strange” that Bosa was holding out because all of the money they were originally offering would be his in time, Bosa would just have to wait until next spring until he receives the full amount.
"I am very relieved. I knew it was going to get done. I was just surprised how long it took," Bosa told reporters. "I really left it mostly to my agents. That's why I trust them. We just wanted what's fair and what people in my position have gotten through the last five, six years. We came to a fair deal. There's no animosity between any of us, me towards them or them towards me."
Under the relatively new rookie contract scale, which was installed in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement between the players and NFL owners, Bosa’s first pro contract falls in the same range as the four other top five picks in this year’s draft.
The former Ohio State star’s base salary will reach its apex in the final year of the deal, 2019, but will never exceed $720,000 and most of the money is tied to Bosa’s signing and roster bonuses. According to Spotrac, Bosa will pull down $450,000 in salary this season along with $4.25 million of his signing bonus. The rest of the bonus will be spread out evenly in the same increment for the next three years, but Bosa’s roster bonuses will gradually increase from $1 million in 2017 to more than $3.25 million in 2019.
With a freshly signed deal, Bosa will now have to quickly acclimate to the NFL without any reps during training camp while San Diego’s defense tries to bounce back after ranking No. 21 in points and No. 20 in yards allowed. The pass rush was also poor, generating only 32 sacks.
Bosa was selected specifically for his pass-rushing skills and his power at the mouth of the defensive line. Over three seasons with the Buckeyes, Bosa appeared in 38 games, totaling 148 total tackles, including 51 for a loss, and 26 sacks.