LA Chargers: Why Joey Bosa deserved to be the highest paid defender

LA Chargers Joey Bosa (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
LA Chargers Joey Bosa (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Joey Bosa deserves every penny from the LA Chargers that he will receive.

As soon as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the news of Joey Bosa’s contract extension with the LA Chargers last night, Twitter was ablaze and the market was once again reset.

The contract for Bosa is no doubt a steep one. Bosa is now the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history in terms of total guarantees, eclipsing Myles Garrett in those categories.

The market always gets reset when it’s time for the next player to get paid in a league with an increasing salary cap. Bosa was always going to be the next highest-paid defensive player. After a while, someone will surpass him. Perhaps that next defender will be his brother Nick Bosa down the road.

Over the last three seasons, Bosa has a 91.4 pass-rush grade, via Pro Football Focus. That’s the highest of all edge defenders in that spin. Bosa led the league in pass rush win rate in 2019 and is second only to Aaron Donald when it comes to that same metric over the last three seasons. Also, he has the most QB hits per game out of all edge rushers in the league since 2016.

The improvements he’s made every year also make him worthy of this contract. Bosa is a top three to five edge already depending on who you ask, but he can continue his rise to the top. In 2019, he posted career highs in tackles for loss, QB hits, and was just three off his highest tackle total from 2017. Oh, and he posted the highest defensive PFF score of his career.

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Defensive end is the second most valuable position after the quarterback. Some will argue wide receiver, but in many ways, defensive ends have the biggest impact on the game.

If they get to the quarterback, or if they get in the backfield, the play can truly be over before it begins. Elite edge rushers do not grow on trees. It took the Chargers about 20 years to find another truly great one since the days of Leslie O’Neal.

The scary part about Bosa’s game is that he hasn’t plateaued, as mentioned earlier. He can still get better. The accolades and stats he’s achieved so far in his career have been without much interior presence up the middle. An aging Brandon Mebane was probably Bosa and Melvin Ingram‘s biggest help over the past few years.

Now, a younger, more efficient Linval Joseph is there to help both of them. If Jerry Tillery and Justin Jones develop a bit more, you could see some really, really scary production from Bosa.

The LA Chargers needed to keep Bosa. He’s arguably the best edge defender in the league from the standpoint of his impact on games and is one of the best overall defenders in the league. While the money may seem daunting, there’s no way to overpay for an elite edge defender who impacts games, as it’s the second most valuable position in the sport.

Next. How Joey Bosa affects the other Chargers' free agents

Having Bosa for the next five years will put this team in a position to do some damage. His presence over the next decade is key to building a Super Bowl contender over the long term.