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NFL AM: Increasing Pressure On Chargers 1st Round Pick Joey Bosa To Sign

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Bosa Missing Valuable Time?

One of the biggest benefits from the latest NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement was that with the rookie pay scale, holdouts became rare.

The San Diego Chargers are in one of those rare situations as third-overall pick, defensive end Joey Bosa and the team are no closer to a deal than they’ve been in weeks.

“We’re disappointed he’s not here,” said Chargers general manager Tom Telesco. “This is a big part of the learning process for all players, not just rookies. There’s part of the business to this, too, and we understand that. It’s part of being a professional athlete.”

How does this happen in today’s NFL? 

It took a perfect storm to get to this point.  Bosa was the third overall pick in the Draft and the first two selections ahead of him were quarterbacks, for the second year in a row.  Since quarterbacks generally receive more money than the standard player at their slot, there is somewhat of a disconnect or “room for additional negotiation” with the first player selected after them.

Last season it didn’t matter all that much because Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler, Jr. had already torn his ACL in minicamp.  The Jaguars did right by him by guaranteeing all of his money when they certainly could’ve played hardball.

The major sticking point in this deal is reportedly offset language, which would allow Bosa to collect all his money from the Chargers if he were to be let go prior to the expiration of his rookie contract. This would allow him to “double-dip” and get potentially paid from a new team at the same time.

Eventually one side needs to blink and all signs point to it not being the Chargers.  There were some minor concerns around Bosa’s partying lifestyle and the San Diego franchise wants as much security as they can get.

“We have to treat all of our players the same,” Telesco said. “That’s the big thing. We can’t do one thing different for one guy and the same for 89 others. These things tend to get worked out.”

With that said, if it was that big of a concern they shouldn’t have selected him with the No. 3 pick in the draft.

Some believe Bosa’s agent, Todd France is to blame.  Here’s a statement he made explaining the hangups.

“You are a little more boxed in from the pure dollar standpoint, total dollars, but there are a lot of moving parts,” France said. “Language-wise, there’s different things you can look at. And then, obviously, how you structure it, especially in those top 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 picks in the first round, whether those bonuses in the second and third, fourth year — those training-camp roster bonuses — do you not want those? What’s the cash flow? What’s the deferral? Those types of things.

“Time value of money is a legit thing, especially at millions of dollars,” France continued. “Do you want to get all of your money in this year? Is it going to be spread out over the next two or three years? So those are some of the moving parts. And sometimes it’s easier when you’re dealing with teams and sometimes it’s harder. And, again, there’s a lot of moving parts. If it was just a no-brainer-type thing they would be done in one second.”

Bosa has now missed nearly a week of training camp and although some of his soon-to-be (we think) teammates have taken the high road, others haven’t.

Philip Rivers, who went through a feisty rookie holdout under the old system didn’t speak out all that much.

“Obviously, you want him here,” Rivers said. “But I also know what it’s like from that spot. It’s not any fun, that’s for sure. You try not to watch the sports and news, seeing your team practicing and you not being out there. I know it’s a hard situation to be in. And when it gets done, it gets done, and he’ll be here and be a part of it. And from what I’ve seen this offseason, he’ll be a big part of it.”

Predictably, Chargers head coach Mike McCoy is more concerned.

He definitely needs to be out here as a rookie,” McCoy said as the Chargers opened camp. “There’s no update on his status. [General Manager] Tom [Telesco] made his comments the other day, and it’s the same today. We will just keep working at that, and eventually it will get done.

“But he needs to be here. I think everybody needs to be here, especially as a younger player for the installations, playing with your teammates — things like that. We are going to coach the guys who are here, and the players who were here did a nice job today.”

Now the best player on the San Diego defense, Corey Liuget has joined the fray.

It was at least 13 days for me to get into football shape,” Liuget said. “And then for me to learn the defense, at least three months.”

The former first-round pick continued.

“I’m in shape. I can run 10 half-gassers all day,” Liuget said. “But the minute we did eight plays in a row, I was freakin’ gassed. And I’m in shape.

“This stuff gets hard. It’s tough man, because it’s muscle memory.”

Bosa’s absence from the first week of training camp is not going to make or break the Chargers 2016 season.  There’s a reason why they were selecting third in the Draft, and there’s also a reason for optimism.

If Bosa needs to miss a week of practices to get a deal that he can live with, it will be the best thing for his career in the long term.  Even if the Chargers brass isn’t on board.

Odd Man Out?

When the news broke last week that the New York Jets had finally come to terms with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, there were likely expletives shouted from the homes of both Geno Smith and Bryce Petty.

It would appear that one of those two quarterbacks will be out of a job when it’s time to pair the roster down to 53.

It’s extremely rare for a team to keep more than three quarterbacks, and Fitz and rookie Christian Hackenberg are roster locks.  That leaves Smith and Petty likely battling for one spot.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles isn’t tipping his hand, and he eluded to the possibility of the team keeping four signal callers.

“It’s conceivable (that the team can keep four quarterbacks),” Bowles said. “It’s all depends on the strengths and weaknesses of other positions, because you have to steal form a position to keep a position and we have pretty good competition right now at about five positions at least. It’s going to come down to seeing who we’re able to keep and who’s able to perform and who’s able to do things where we can steal one from another and who can play a dual role and have some versatility. It’s early, but we’ll see how it works out.”

During Bowles eight-year career as an NFL safety, he played on a Washington Redskins team that kept four quarterbacks.

“I played on one as a matter of fact, but there was no salary cap and all that stuff and implications back then back in the stone ages. We’ll see how it goes,” the head coach said.

With Smith entering the final year of his rookie contract and clearly not part of the future plans of the team, many would expect the former second-round pick from West Virginia to be sent on his way in favor of the younger Petty.  With that said, Smith has value as a legitimate backup quarterback and he is expected to earn a salary of just $675,000 this season.

Anyone would be hard pressed to find a better backup quarterback for anywhere near that money.

Petty didn’t impress in his limited reps last season and if the team thought that he had much of a future they likely wouldn’t have selected Hackenberg in the second round of this year’s draft.  This will certainly be a tough camp for Petty as the reps will be extremely scarce with four signal callers in camp.

“I don’t know if it’s fair, the reps aren’t going to be even no matter who the third and fourth team guy is at any position,” Bowles explained. “When you get the reps, you make the best of the opportunity and you gain and grow as time. If you get a shot to play, you play. If the guys in front of you are playing well, then you can afford to redshirt them.”

The Jets have a legitimate shot to make the playoffs this season and if Fitzpatrick were to go down for any amount of time, they would need an experienced backup.  Smith certainly provides that.  In fact, entering this time last season he was the expected starter.  Of course things happen, but there’s very little upside in the team waiving Smith in the final year of his deal.  At the very worst, if and when he walks following the season, the Jets will likely get some sort of compensatory pick for keeping an experienced, inexpensive backup.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.