On Friday, Chargers G.M. Tom Telesco said that the team and the agents representing unsigned defensive end Joey Bosa are “actively talking.”
Define “actively.” Also, define “talking.”
A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the two sides last communicated on Thursday, two days before the Chargers reported to camp. The Chargers made an offer on Thursday morning. Bosa’s camp responded within 90 minutes. The last communication came from the team, which essentially asked Bosa’s representatives if they were sure about their position. They were, and they are.
Telesco has called the differences “small” and “fundamental.” They are indeed fundamental, but not small.
The primary sticking points, according to the sources, continue to be: (1) whether the fully guaranteed contract will include offset language; and (2) whether Bosa’s signing bonus will be paid in full this year. The team wants offset language and deferral of a significant portion of the signing bonus into 2017. At a time when many believe Bosa wants the exact opposite on both points, the truth is that Bosa’s representatives would accept one or the other: Offset language or full payment of the signing bonus in 2016.
And that’s not a new development. Bosa has been willing to take one or the other since May.
The Chargers base their refusal on team precedent. Bosa’s position is bolstered by the fact that, among top five picks, the trend has been for the player to have offset language and no deferral of the bonus into the next year or no offset language and deferral.
For the top five picks drafted from 2012 through 2015, 16 of 20 received no offset language or no deferral of signing bonus into the next year. In 2016, three of the top-five picks who have signed received one or the other. But for a relatively small piece of Carson Wentz’s bonus that was deferred to 2017, the only exception this year was Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot, who accepted offset language and deferral of his signing bonus. The Chargers are clinging to that point, even though 19 of the other 23 top-five picks since 2012 have gotten at least one or the other.
Beyond the top five, multiple draft picks will receive all of their signing bonus this year. Ravens tackle Ronnie Stanley, the sixth overall pick, gets his full $13.097 million before the end of the calendar year. 49ers defensive lineman DeForest Buckner will receive his full $11.492 million before the end of the calendar year. For Bosa, however, the Chargers are proposing a deferral percentage bigger than any other top-five pick has agreed to since 2012.
Other issues, mainly regarding contract language, also exist between the Chargers and Bosa. But the main two points are offset language and deferral. The Chargers want both to go their way. Bosa wants only one.
With both sides dug in, there’s nothing to talk about. Which explains why the two sides aren’t “actively talking.” They may not be talking, for a while.