Disputed Offset Language

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Almost all NFL teams opened up training camp last week with all their top draft picks signed and participating in camp.  The reason I preceded the prior sentence with “almost” and not just “all” is because of Joey Bosa and the San Diego Chargers. Bosa, the third overall pick in last year’s draft, continues to hold off signing his contract over disagreements with some of the terms. Specifically, Bosa has disagreements with offset language and deferred signing bonus money.  

One of the main points of contention involves the use of “offset language” in Bosa’s contract. Bosa does not want offset language included with his contract, while the San Diego Chargers do want it included. Offset language is beneficial to a team that wants to release a highly drafted player. It acts in a way that team can save money when it releases a player if that player subsequently signs with another team. If that the player signs with another team, the releasing team can “offset” the money they would have owed him based on what the signing team pays. If the signing team pays the player an amount equal to or more than what he would have received, the releasing team owes nothing, as the money is “offset.”

With the collective bargaining agreement that was signed in 2011, holdouts by top draft picks are much less common. But, as evidenced by the Bosa situation, they still do happen. At the end of the day, the third overall pick will almost certainly play out his entire contract with San Diego, and the offset language issue will be mute. Additionally, the offset language dispute could be a negotiating tactic by Bosa to get what wants in the contract regarding deferred signing bonus money.  But this certainly is not be the first high draft pick who stands his ground on certain contract issues, and it certainly will not be the last.

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