The Charger Way

Things between the San Diego Chargers and Joey Bosa have gone from bad to worse to a war. And now it’s just flat out ugly.

How ugly? The Chargers are screenshotting statements from a Notes document and tweeting it and Chargers President of Football Operations John Spanos has called Joey Bosa’s bargaining stance “absolutely asinine.”

The basic beef is this: the Chargers want Joey Bosa to agree to two things – offset language and to break up his signing bonus. Offset language would let the team avoid paying Bosa if they cut him before the end of his contract and he signs with another team. And they’d like to spread out that signing bonus into next year. Bosa’s team has indicated that he’ll agree to one, not both. And the Chargers have said they’re going to reduce their offer.

I’ll save you the back and forth because honestly, it’s all pretty technical, pretty boring, and really stupid.

Stupid because the Chargers are just over two months away from a public vote on funding for a new stadium. A vote that current polls indicate they would lose, so you’d think they’d be looking for two things: good PR and wins. And a great way to get both is to have the third pick in the draft, a guy you drafted because you think he’s a potential star, on the field for Week 1. But that’s really unlikely at this point.

And for who? For what? So that you don’t have to pay him money in a few years if you cut him? So you have better-looking cash flow charts? Because this is the way you’ve always done it?? If that offset language really matters, and it almost never does, it’s applied just once for a top 5 pick from 1999-2013, your real problem won’t be that you’re paying him, it’ll be that he was so crappy that you had to cut your third pick in his first contract. The problem won’t be that you out some money, it’ll be that you wasted a really high pick.

So, do you want to win on the field or at the negotiating table? Are Charger fans rooting for a football team or an Excel spreadsheet?

I get it. For the team, there’s a principle at stake and they don’t want to set precedent. That’s the Chargers way. They have a long history of digging in their heels and negotiating hard with guys like LaDainian Tomlinson, Philip Rivers, and Shawne Merriman. It’s why Eli Manning made it very clear he’d never sign in San Diego if they drafted him. This is the Chargers Way.

And if they could point to a cabinet full of Lombardi’s, I’d say the Chargers Way is the right way. But you’re not the Patriots. You don’t have a Lombardi, let alone multiple trophies. You drafted Joey Bosa with the third pick because you had the third worst record. You went 4-12. Your way isn’t exactly stacking rings and it might cost you a stadium.

The Chargers didn’t do much winning last year, but they need to focus on WIN. As in, What’s Important Now.

And what’s more important now – offset language and signing bonus cash flow? Or getting a new stadium in San Diego. I’d say that latter, but the Chargers are fighting like it’s the former. Talk about winning the battle and losing the war. Or pennywise and pound-foolish. Or cutting off your nose to spite your face. And what good will those San Diego Charger principles be when you’re the Los Angeles Chargers?

And that doesn’t mean Bosa is without blame either. He’s a 21-year-old rookie who has done exactly nothing in this league. And for all your success at Ohio State, you get ZERO benefit of the doubt. So tell Moms to cool it on Facebook, where she’s dropping Eli Manning bombs.

So there are no winners here, just losers. The team, the player and the fans. It’s all bad.

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