NBC 7's Derek Togerson takes a look at the Chargers' 1st round pick holding out of minicamp in this commentary
The Chargers drafted Joey Bosa with the third overall pick because they knew they needed a bunch of help on their defensive front. The Bolts have not put on pads and really played football yet in 2016 but if you listen to the front office Bosa is everything he was hyped up to be.
“In the time he’s been here we’ve been impressed with not only his ability but his work ethic,” said Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco.
Sounds awesome, right? The problem is that work ethic is not on the field for mandatory minicamp this week in Murphy Canyon. Bosa is the only guy on the roster who has not signed his contract, so he is holding out.
The reason is what’s called “offset money.” In a nutshell Bosa wants to have a provision in his contract that says if the Chargers release him before his deal is up and he is signed by another team, he would still be paid by San Diego while he was getting paid by the new team. Players commonly refer to this as “double-dipping.”
Bosa, as the third overall pick, will likely receive a contract worth a shade less than $26 million dollars that is fully guaranteed. If he’s as good as everyone says he is then he should not have to worry about being released unless he gets hurt, right? And if he gets hurt another team is probably not going to pick him up anyway, right? So what’s the big deal?
According to the Chargers, what Bosa is asking for is simply not something they do very often. If ever.
“We’ve got to treat all of our players the same,” said Telesco. “We can’t do one thing different for one guy and the same for 89 others.”
The fact Bosa has chosen this route is really not surprising when you look at his agent. Tom Condon has used the holdout as a tool in contract negotiations for years. Just this offseason he was involved with Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford holding out of camp in an attempt to make Philadelphia trade Bradford to the Broncos.
Condon also threatened the Cowboys, saying wide receiver Dez Bryant would hold out in to the regular season if the Pro Bowl pass catcher did not get a new contract.
Condon has a history of draft picks that have held out, too, including Brady Quinn, Ben Watson, Cade McNown, Knowshon Moreno, and Darrius Heyward-Bey. What do all of those players have in common?
All of them failed to live up to their first round talent and that brings us to the big problem. Joey Bosa is a rookie and as talented as he is rookies need reps. They can’t just walk out on the playing field for a couple days of minicamp and take the form of a Hall of Famer like tight end Antonio Gates (also a Condon client) can. For his part, Telesco does not seem too concerned about the current situation.
“These things tend to get worked out. It’s June. We’ll just keep going.”
I don’t begrudge anyone from trying to get paid. But in this situation Bosa is going to get paid even if he gets hurt. Granted, this is just minicamp and it's likely that Bosa will be under contract by the time the real thing cranks up in July. Still, missing any practice time at all is not a great way to get your professional career started.