With defensive end Joey Bosa finally agreeing to terms with the Chargers, plenty of the people who were pressuring Bosa to cave will be ready to point to his holdout, if he struggles as a rookie. By next year, however, Bosa’s decision to stand firm will be irrelevant to his performance, after he has a full year in the system and the opportunity to participate in all of the offseason program, training camp, and the preseason.
For the Chargers, the stain may not wipe away quite so easily. Like the jersey on the mannequin in Cleveland with the names of all the starting quarterbacks since 1999, Bosa becomes the next name on a list of Chargers holdouts that dates back at least 15 years.
So why is it happening? Former Chargers safety Rodney Harrison addressed the topic earlier in the day on PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio and NBCSN.
“The San Diego Chargers are a bunch of bullies,” Harrison said. “If you look at the way they’ve handled business, why is it the San Diego Chargers out of all the teams have this issue? Because they are a bunch of bullies, and they haven’t treated their star players correctly. You look at junior Seau and what they did to him. Look at how they treated me. Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers held out, Quentin Jammer, LaDainian Tomlinson. I know he came out and he was outspoken about the holdout but — guess what? — he held out, too. So when I look at the San Diego Chargers, I’d say this is why they’re an average organization, because of things like this. How can you draft a guy at the position that you drafted him in and not have him in camp?
“I think the San Diego Chargers are being a bunch of bullies and it just looks bad and reflects bad. If I’m a free agent why the heck would I even think about going to San Diego if I know that this is the way they treat their players?”
It’s fair to wonder who the next holdout will be in San Diego. And it’s also fair to question whether free agents eventually will choose to sign elsewhere, if all other factors are equal. It’s the kind of perception that, if not reversed by the team, could force the Chargers to pay more than other teams will pay in order to get players to join the team — especially if the Chargers are on the verge of not being able to make living in San Diego a selling point.