Joey Bosa‘s holdout from 2016 apparently resonated into 2020.
At a time when the NFL is bracing for a season of unprecedented chaos, unexpected losses and a potentially sharp drop in the salary cap for 2021, the Chargers bit the bullet and made Joey Bosa the highest paid defensive player in NFL history with a massive five-year, $135 million extension. Coupled with the $14.36 million Bosa was due to make in 2020, it’s a six-year deal with a value at signing of $24.89 million per year.
The $27 million new-money average leapfrogs Browns defensive end Myles Garrett by $2 million per year and leaves Bears linebacker Khalil Mack, at $23 million per year, and Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, at $22.5 million per year, in the dust.
Despite the Chargers being on the brink of a season with no fans in the stands (some would say that’s no different than any other season), they broke the bank for Bosa, who held out deep into his rookie preseason over a handful of relatively minor issues in his largely boilerplate contract as the third overall pick in the draft. This time around, the Chargers wouldn’t have surrendered $78 million fully guaranteed and $102 million in total guarantees if they didn’t fear a holdout from Bosa, or perhaps even an opt out.
Bosa has 40 career sacks in 51 career games, an average of 0.78 per game. He has one Pro Bowl appearance in four years, and he has missed 13 games in four seasons due to injury.
Bosa has tremendous potential and at times he has had significant production, but his high-water mark for single-season sacks is only 12.5 — with Melvin Ingram on the other side of the line to dilute the attention that can be devoted to Bosa.
And so the deal can be characterized as nothing other than a grand slam for Bosa, especially in light of the current issues engulfing the Chargers and the rest of the NFL. Although the final numbers will tell the whole story, in this situation the early indications are that Bosa got every penny, and possibly then some, from the Chargers.