It’s easy to blame the San Diego Chargers for being cheap. It’s easy to blame Joey Bosa for being greedy.
But there’s a lot more to this situation than that.
“One thing that I think that everybody is forgetting and not talking about much is Bosa wants to be on the field,” former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and current NFL analyst Shawne Merriman said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “It’s easy to say, ‘Why doesn’t he just tell his agent (that he wants) to be on the field?’ But if you don’t listen to your representation, what’s the point of having them?”
That’s a fair question.
For what it’s worth, Merriman, once the most dominant defensive player in football, spent time with Bosa after he got drafted and came away very impressed with the former Ohio State standpoint.
“Look, he’s a football guy,” said Merriman, who played for the Chargers from 2005 to 2010. “He wants to be on the field and is hoping this thing gets worked out.”
Merriman, a former 12th overall pick, held out as a rookie, too. He finally signed a deal in August 2005 but didn’t break the starting lineup until Week 7.
Merriman didn’t say what he would advise Bosa to do.
“You never want to advise a player on his contract because that’s his future. That’s his family that he has to worry about. You never want to get involved in that,” Merriman said. “As a teammate and wanting Joey Bosa there, hell yeah, I want Joey Bosa in practice because he can only help us, and yes, he is going to have a slow start. I don’t care how great he’s working out. He’s missed camp. He’s not on the field with his teammates. He is going to have some catching put to do when he gets ready. But look, he has to go in when it’s his time to go and get ready. He can’t be forced in there, and I don’t think it’s fair for any player to kind of push him on taking the deal or whatever the case is.”
But is Bosa’s holdout a Chargers thing or an NFL thing?
“Every team has their stickler points, whether it’s the injury clause, whether it’s guaranteed money or workout bonuses or how much you have to show up,” Merriman said. “Every team has that portion of it. It just happens more frequently with the San Diego Chargers. It’s also been a big PR deal when it happens. A lot of these things happen in organizations; they just find a way to work it out a lot faster.”
As Merriman pointed out, though, the Chargers’ drawing a line in the sand isn’t just about Bosa; it’s about the future of their franchise.
“The Chargers putting their foot down makes a lot of sense going forward,” Merriman said. “because if they give into everything Joey Bosa’s agent wants right now, then the next five draft classes are going to be looking at his contract saying, ‘Hey, Joey got it. Why can’t we get it?’ So yeah, you would like to a see a guy like that, especially your top draft pick, finally in there. He’s the missing link to that defense. So I think that everyone is going to be a little bit affected by him not being there.”