Joey Bosa indicates his rookie-year holdout helped him land massive Chargers deal

Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa on the field before a game.
Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa hinted that his decision to hold out his rookie year may have pushed the team to avoid another contract spat with him.
(Harry How / Getty Images)

A season after they failed so often to win close games, the Chargers scored a dramatic buzzer-beating victory before training camp opened.

Joey Bosa on Monday colorfully described the final moments before he and the team came together on a record-setting five-year, $135-million extension. The main color was bright blue.

“I was parked outside the hotel probably 10 minutes before, out of sight,” he explained. “I have a bright blue car, so they would have seen me from 10 miles away if I pulled up into the parking lot of the hotel. I [was] parked off to the side when we got the call.”


That call was from Bosa’s agent, Brian Ayrault, who informed his client that he was about to become the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player of all time.

So Bosa pulled into the hotel in Irvine early last week to go through coronavirus testing, arriving just minutes before the team-imposed deadline to report.

“It was hard to contain my emotions coming in there and getting swabbed,” he admitted. “It helped that I had a mask on probably because I had a smirk underneath.”

The deal, which Bosa signed over the weekend, includes a guaranteed $102 million and a $35-million signing bonus.

The Chargers released six players on Saturday, including safety Roderic Teamer and wide receiver Andre Patton.

Aug. 1, 2020

At 25, he is tied to the Chargers for six more years. Bosa, a two-time Pro Bowl player, had one season remaining on his rookie contract and was a candidate to hold out, something, he now said, “I don’t have to worry about.”

As for all the new money coming his way, he added, “It’s hard to even imagine and comprehend how insane it is.”


Bosa said the fact Cleveland and pass rusher Myles Garrett agreed on a five-year, $125-million extension roughly two weeks earlier probably aided in his deal getting done quicker.

He also indicated his holdout as a rookie was a factor. Bosa didn’t report until late August in 2016 because of a dispute involving his signing bonus and the offset language in his contract.

“They know that I know what I bring to the team,” he said. “I know my own value. … I don’t think either of us wanted to butt heads, and I certainly didn’t want to go anywhere else. I’m super happy here and super happy with this team.”

Bosa said there were no negotiations on his extension until just a week before the Chargers’ veterans were scheduled to report.

After so many issues settling his rookie deal, he said he was “very relieved” to complete this contract so soon and called it “pretty shocking” how quickly everything was done.

His first phone call afterward was to his father, John, a former first-round pick who spent three seasons with Miami in the 1980s. The two talked as Bosa was driving home.


Since the Chargers used the No. 6 pick in the NFL draft to select Justin Herbert, how long can fans expect Tyrod Taylor to remain the starting quarterback?

Aug. 1, 2020

“A lot of screaming,” he said. “A lot of colorful language. It was a great moment. I was telling him, ‘Stop, you’re making me cry.’ I was telling him I was going to crash.”

Bosa’s reign as the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player doesn’t figure to last long. His younger brother, Nick, an edge rusher for San Francisco, is one of the players who could eventually set a new standard.

But for now, Bosa is No. 1 and looking forward to a 2020 season clouded by the COVID-19 pandemic and a 5-11 finish for the Chargers last year.

In his excitement Monday, he talked glowingly about the potential of quarterback Justin Herbert, the Chargers’ most-recent top draft pick. Then Bosa was reminded that veteran Tyrod Taylor is expected to start Week 1.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “We know what Tyrod can do. He’s a beast. …You got me flustered now. I feel like a bad teammate. I love you, Tyrod. Happy birthday, too.”

Monday was Taylor’s 31st birthday.