August is slipping into the hour glass, as is training camp, and Joey Bosa remains unsigned. The third overall pick in this year’s draft, Bosa and the Chargers are at a standstill regarding his signing-bonus payout and the offset language contained within his contract.
What is going on here? Why hasn’t the contract been signed? Who is more at fault?
“Well, I think there’s some artificial deadlines built into it because obviously we passed the first one where the Chargers cannot trade his rights for this year,” Senior Bowl executive director and former NFL general manager Phil Savage said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “We’re coming up on the next one the week of the first regular-season game where, if Joey Bosa is going to get paid, he’s ultimately going to have to sign this deal. And then the third artificial deadline is the one that happens later in the year where, for him to get an accrued season, he’s got to sign by, I think, Week 10. So again, because Joey Bosa came out as a junior, an underclassman, most of the time these guys do that because they want to get into the league and get that first year under their belt so they can get to that second contract quicker. He has not chosen to sign this deal. The money is agreed upon. It is what it is at that third slot. The problem is that the Chargers wanted to delay some of the signing-bonus deferral, and then of course they wanted this offset language in the contract.”
At one point, Bosa and the Chargers were talking, negotiating, quibbling. But now? Silence.
“They’re not even talking, so there’s not even a quibble anymore,” Savage said. “They’re just staring at each other. The Chargers, as far as I know at least a few days ago, have not spoken to Bosa since July 28. They’re just sitting there waiting for these artificial deadlines to come up, and either sign it or they’ll pass. With that being said, I think the Chargers’ coaches and their front office, it’s probably coming to the point where they’re like, ‘Okay, we’re going to have to probably play most of this year without this No. 1 draft choice.’
“But here’s the part that’s tricky for the general manager, Tom Telesco,” Savage continued. “If the organization and ownership is truly behind him in terms of saying, ‘We’re locking in on this language and we’re with you,’ if Bosa doesn’t show up – or when Bosa does show up and doesn’t play well – the ownership group has to understand that. They can’t really fault Telesco. From my standpoint personally, as a GM, I would say, ‘Look, let’s get this done because we need this player on our team.’ I’m not sure that I would believe that ownership is with me – because if this guy doesn’t play well and it’s my draft choice, then I’m going to be the one out the door in three years if it doesn’t work.”
As the third overall pick in the draft, Bosa has leverage. Then again, the Chargers are the ones with all the benjamins.
“Yeah, no doubt about it. The club absolutely has all the leverage in this situation,” Savage said. “It’s a tough deal because Bosa – in my opinion, this is not an elite, super-fast edge rusher. This is a meat-and potatoes-grinder type of player, and I think that’s what’s been so puzzling to the Chargers. I think they felt like they were drafting an overachiever, and if anything else, Bosa has been more of a prima donna . . . in terms of not signing this deal so far.”