Posted on August 31, 2016, by Travis Pulver
No one thought it would take so long to get a contract done between the San Diego Chargers and former Ohio State defensive lineman Joey Bosa. The collective bargaining agreement was supposed to make the process of signing rookies and getting them into camp much, much easier. But agents have to prove their worth, and Bosa’s agent was determined to show his client and every rookie in the near future that he was a pit bull.
While his agent meant well, he forgot two of the key components of any negotiation—compromise and leverage.
As a rookie, Bosa had no leverage. If he didn’t sign, he would go back into the draft next year and would likely not be taken anywhere near the No. 3 pick—which would mean Bosa would lose out on millions. So if Bosa wanted to get paid, he had to sign.
The Chargers do need him, of course. With the stadium vote coming up in the near future the Chargers need to give local fans every reason to hope for the best. It appears that someone in the front office realized this, so the team went to Bosa’s agent with their best offer—85 percent of the bonus this year with the remaining 15 percent coming in March and offset language.
This was a significant compromise coming from the Chargers. Rather than do what a good agent would do and take it or at least send a counter offer asking for 90 percent, Bosa’s agent said no. So Bosa did the only thing he could do.
He got a new one; not a new company but a different representative from his agent, CAA, took over his contract.
A couple of days later the team announced that they had finally signed the No. 3 pick from the 2016 draft. The team got the offset language included and will give him the largest upfront bonus in team history (approximately $14.45 million) after shifting around the cash flow for the last three years of the contract (ESPN).
No one will ever come right out and say that the change in agents had anything to do with a deal finally getting done, but comments made by Chargers President of Football Operations John Spanos do paint a picture:
“I prefer to keep the details quiet, but I would like to thank Todd France for his professionalism and his help in getting this deal done,” Spanos said.
He didn’t mention the guy the team had been negotiating with, Brian Ayrault. By complimenting France’s professionalism, you could almost say he was throwing a little shade at Ayrault’s lack of it.
The switch may have been a “good cop, bad cop” tactic by CAA, but since the terms of the deal do not appear to have changed much (if at all) from the team’s last offer it would appear that the ‘tactic’ didn’t work.
So was it an agent’s tactic? Or was it more that Joey Bosa wanted someone to get the job done so he could get back to playing football and the fans would quite ripping his family on social media? Was he tired of guys saying he needed to get to work when he wanted to do just that? So did Joey Bosa say it was time for CAA to make a change before he did?
We’ll never know for sure, and no one will ever tell—and no one will care if Bosa ends up playing well.