Joey Bosa’s contract dispute is annoying, not worrisome…yet
By Conor Denton
Much has been made over the last few weeks about the ongoing contract dispute between Joey Bosa and the San Diego Chargers. I’m here to tell you all not to stress out and worry about what has transpired so far, at least not yet.
In case you have been living under a rock for the past month or so and are currently unaware of what I’m even talking about, here is what’s being disputed in a nutshell:
- Offset Language
- Deferral of Guaranteed Money
Essentially, these two complications are tied together, but I decided to split them up so I can go more in depth on each subject matter.
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The first problem I will talk about is the difference in philosophies about offset language. For those of you who don’t know what offset language is, allow me to explain. In rookie contracts, teams are allowed to insert “offsets,” otherwise known as offset language, that gives them the ability to weasel out of paying that draft pick the entirety of their allotted guaranteed money should they be released before their contracts expires. Now, this is where things become unnecessarily complicated between the Chargers and Bosa’s camp.
Few, if any, draft picks are able to negotiate themselves a contract that doesn’t include offset language. The reason is simple as to why: high draft picks, especially those taken in the top five, are supposed to pan out. Teams shouldn’t be worried about cutting their top-five pick before their rookie contract runs out. This is why offset language is such a minor issue to so many athletes and their agents. If they go out on the field and perform admirably like they were projected to when taken, then there is absolutely nothing to worry about in terms of being cut. Thus, making this a burden introduced by Bosa himself.
On the flip side, the Chargers find themselves in quite a conundrum. If they decide to give in and allow Bosa to get his contract sans offset language, it makes the front office and organization as a whole look a little weak to say the least. In retrospect, it isn’t that big of a deal if they eliminate the offset language as the only benefit out of such an event in which Bosa is released is saving somewhere between $2-5 million of cap down the line.
Now, if they continue down the same path of playing “who blinks first” with Bosa’s camp, then their image as a franchise is also further deteriorated while they deal with the possibility of an impending move of the franchise and after the Eric Weddle debacle. Although, it seems as if the organization has come to the conclusion that the contract dispute isn’t over the contract anymore, but that it’s over the principle of what rookies are entitled to and what they are not entitled to.
This is exactly what is creating the second problem in contract negotiations, deferral of guaranteed salary. Rumor has it that Bosa and his agent are looking for a more spread out distribution of salary over the years of his contract. This issue really bothers me a lot. We are talking about GUARANTEED money here folks, which means that no matter how much money he is promised when he signs that dotted line, he will receive every penny REGARDLESS if it’s all in the first year or all in the last year. Penny pinching over how much assured money you receive every year is utterly ludicrous. Once again the organization seems to be content waiting for Bosa’s camp to agree to, what I assume is, a very reasonable deal that they have put on the table.
The Chargers have done nothing wrong up to this point in negotiations with Bosa. They have stuck to their guns and repeatedly hinted toward the fact that what Bosa wants is unreasonable and what they have offered is fair. That’s all fine and all for now, which is why I say to all of you not to worry, but come training camp and preseason if Bosa is still not on the field, San Diego will find themselves under heavy scrutiny for not signing a game-changer on the gridiron for this team.
In all likelihood it will never come down to that. What is being disputed is so minor in the grand scheme of contracts that I personally believe one side will give in sooner rather than later. Listen, the bottom line is that San Diego will either end up looking weak for caving into a rookies demands or stingy for waiting so long to sign him. To be honest, this is quickly turning into a lose-lose situation for the organization. However, San Diego is now at a crossroads where they need to either give into his demands and receive minor criticism, or prep up for the long haul and hope that Bosa caves in.
Worst case scenario is that Bosa sits out a year then throws himself back into the draft, which would result in San Diego wasting a top-five pick. It is with this looming worry that I think San Diego should stop fooling around and give the kid what he wants, even if he has done nothing to deserve it.
Yeah, it may make you look bad in the short term, but the long-term goal is to make your team better from a front office standpoint, and that’s exactly what Bosa does.