Myles Garrett extension is bad news for Chargers, Joey Bosa

Joey Bosa #97 of the Los Angeles Chargers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Joey Bosa #97 of the Los Angeles Chargers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Chargers will have a tougher time keeping Joey Bosa around after Myles Garrett reportedly is ready for a massive extension with the Browns.

The Los Angeles Chargers were going to have a tough time already keeping their star pass-rusher, Joey Bosa, around beyond this upcoming season.

Bosa, 25 years old, is entering the fifth-year option on his rookie deal after joining the team as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. The agreed-upon value of his contract is worth a fully guaranteed $14.36 million.

Los Angeles was going to have plenty of challenges retaining Bosa in 2021 anyway, but all those were before news broke on Tuesday the Cleveland Browns were going to extend their top pick from the 2017 draft, EDGE Myles Garrett, to a five-year, $125 million contract.

News was first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:

The #Browns and star pass-rusher Myles Garrett are closing in on a 5-year extension worth $125M, sources say. Another massive deal, this time for $25M in new money per year. Their top priority of this offseason and they are in the final stages. ???

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 14, 2020

This completely resets the market for top-tier pass-rushers. Garrett, with an average annual value of $25 million, now becomes the highest-paid player at his position. And by a substantial margin, too. The next highest-paid player here is Dallas Cowboys EDGE DeMarcus Lawrence, who comes in with an average annual salary of $21 million.

How Myles Garrett’s extension affects Joey Bosa, Chargers

In the immediate future, Garrett’s extension isn’t as bad as it seems. The Chargers are the beneficiaries of a rookie quarterback contract after parting ways with Philip Rivers and going with Oregon’s Justin Herbert in the draft this year. As long as Herbert develops quickly and emerges as a quality starter, there shouldn’t be too many cap issues for the foreseeable future.

Currently, according to Over the Cap, Los Angeles is blessed with $96,824,945 in cap space for 2021, which includes 2020 rollover but not the cash necessary to ink the team’s rookie class a little less than a year from now (roughly between $7 million and $10 million).

So, what’s the problem?

First, it could start with the negotiation process. It would have been much smarter for L.A. to negotiate an extension with Bosa when he was first eligible last season. It’s not likely that happens now after the Chargers picked up his fifth-year option. True, the franchise tag is always an option. But that’s treading dangerous waters, as the tag’s unpopularity among players needs little explanation.

Like Garrett, Bosa is averaging roughly 10 sacks per season, and his career 40 sacks would have been considerably higher had he not been sidelined with an injury back in 2018. Still, Spotrac’s market-value tool listed Bosa as being worth an annual value of $21.5 million.

That number will surely increase in the wake of Garrett’s new deal.

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Essentially, what this means is the Chargers are either going to be forced to dish out a lot more cash for Bosa’s services than they otherwise would have before Garrett’s extension was in play.

While it might not totally hurt the team now, should Bosa eventually sign a new contract, one can only wonder what financial ramifications will arise in the coming years once Los Angeles’ cap space isn’t anywhere near as friendly.