San Diego Chargers president of football operations John Spanos was flabbergasted by the continued standoff between the Chargers and defensive end Joey Bosa and unloaded on their first-round draft pick last week.
The public comments from Spanos followed a public statement from the team taking their bargaining position into the open in hopes of turning sentiment against their top pick and nudging him toward signing a contract with the team. Bosa did finally sign his rookie contract with the team five days later.
Despite the poor look it cast on the Chargers for publicly slamming a player they felt worthy of the third overall pick in the draft, Spanos said Wednesday that he doesn’t regret the decision to take the dispute public. He discussed the matter with Judson Richards and Nick Hardwick on XTRA 1360 in San Diego.
“Obviously, it was a difficult decision,” Spanos said, via Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com. “Any time you’re in a tough negotiation, everything you do is a difficult decision. And let me be clear: It’s certainly never our preference to make any public comments. It’s not how we’ve operated in the past, I would say, and only [on] the rarest of occasions.
“In fact, I’ve probably been involved in hundreds of player negotiations and contract agreements, whether it’s helping out or leading, throughout my lifetime, and that’s the first time I’ve ever said anything public.
“So that shows you how rare that is. It’s not what we prefer to do — only, I would say, when we’re forced to do it. The bottom line is if someone were to tell me that’s why we got it done, then, yeah, I would do it again, because our goal the whole time was we wanted him here. And we were going to do whatever it takes to get him here.”
While presenting actual terms of their offer is a new step for San Diego, it’s not the first time they’ve negotiated in public. They previously threatened to scale back Philip Rivers’ rookie contract if their offer was not accepted as then-general manager A.J. Smith publicly stated that “negotiations have broken down.”
That deal also eventually got done.
Now the process will have to begin of patching up any frayed feelings on both sides that were incurred due to the lengthy – and public – dispute. The two sides will be joined together for at least the next four seasons. They’ll have to learn to get along.
“Joey’s obviously a very talented player,” Spanos said. “You go No. 3 in the draft for a reason. He has a very unique and special skill set.
“I still stand by the fact that I think every player needs training camp to get ready for the season. But I will say this: Now that he’s here, he’s going to work very hard to get ready for the season. I do believe that it’s 100 percent true that he has been working very hard. I think for a player to go through his situation and coming in this late, we’re in probably the best scenario you could be in, given that situation. He’s as ready as a player could be. He’s going to work as hard as a player can work. So I do think he’ll be able to help us this year.”