It may have taken several months longer than expected, but the San Diego Chargers have agreed to a contract with defensive end Joey Bosa. The No. 3 overall pick will report to training camp after a four-week holdout.
"We came to a fair deal," Bosa said at his introductory press conference. "There’s no animosity between any of us."
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the deal is for four years and $25.8 million dollars. It includes a $17 million signing bonus, and the entire contract is fully guaranteed.
The Chargers and Bosa compromised on the sticking points that delayed this agreement. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Chargers included offset language in Bosa's contract, which will let them off the hook financially should they choose to decline his fifth-year option. Bosa, in return, receives the largest signing bonus in the Chargers' history.
Ever since the NFL's collective bargaining agreement established a rookie wage scale, holdouts among first-round picks have largely become obsolete. But Bosa was an outlier due to squabbling over his offset language and signing bonus. Bosa's camp sent a proposal to the team on July 28, but did not hear back from the Chargers for weeks.
On Aug. 24, the team released a statement saying it had made its best offer and Bosa's camp had rejected it. Bosa's representation, Brian Ayrault with CAA, responded publicly, saying the Chargers were trying to "manipulate facts and negotiate in the media."
The Chargers wanted to spread out Bosa's signing bonus over the life of his deal, but he reportedly demanded it all be included in the first year. If San Diego wasn't willing to do that, Bosa's camp said the team would have to remove offset language from his contract.
Offset language is designed to save an organization money if it releases an early first-round pick within the first four years of his deal. Since contracts for players taken at the top of the draft are fully guaranteed, clubs are on the hook for their salary after they're cut –– even if they sign on with another team. But offset language allows teams to get dollar-for-dollar credit. If a recently released player signs for 50 percent of his salary, for example, then his original team only has to pay the difference.
Citing club precedent, the Chargers refused to take out the offset language. But the fact is, every No. 3 overall pick since 2012 has either had no offset language or no signing bonus deferral. Negotiations got so contentious between the two sides, that Bosa's mother wrote on Facebook she wished her son had "pulled an Eli Manning" -- a reference to the Giants quarterback demanding a trade from the Chargers on draft night in 2004.
According to Bosa, his mom didn't realize her Facebook comments were public.
"Leave it to mom to mess up on Facebook," he joked.
With Bosa now on board, the Chargers can add a potential game changer to their weak defensive line. San Diego finished 24th in the league in sacks last year and also surrendered the 12th-most points.
"To those who supported me and the team, and have an understanding of what happens, I really appreciated that," Bosa said. "I want you to know I've been doing everything I can to help this team and be ready."
Bosa, 21, was a dominant player at Ohio State. The two-time consensus All-American recorded 26 sacks in three seasons and was credited with 148 tackles. With Bosa wrecking havoc in the backfield, the Buckeyes won the first ever College Football Playoff to cap off the 2014 campaign.