News & Analysis

Los Angeles Chargers sign Joey Bosa to five-year, $135 million contract extension

Since entering the NFL, Joey Bosa has been one of the best edge defenders and one of the best defensive players in the game. One of the most polished defensive prospects in recent years, Bosa was drafted third overall by the Los Angeles Chargers in 2016, and he immediately posted an 86.6 overall grade, eighth-best in the NFL. He finished eighth again in 2017 before a lull in 2018 that saw him grade at just 71.5. That’s the only year of Bosa’s career in which he hasn’t ranked in the top eight at his position, including his two years of college. Last year was the best overall grade of Bosa’s career, as his 89.6 mark ranked fifth.

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As is usually the case when evaluating pass-rushers, we must look beyond the sack totals to better define their production. That’s where we see just how special Bosa has been since entering the league. He has the top pass-rush win percentage among edge defenders since 2016, winning 22% of his rushes and trailing only the great Aaron Donald among all defensive linemen.

While win percentage defines how often he wins, but the PFF pass-rush grade shows that he’s not only winning often, but he’s winning quickly as well. Bosa’s 91.5 pass-rush grade ranks second only to Khalil Mack’s 91.9 grade since 2016, and it edges out Von Miller (91.4) and Myles Garrett (91.2). Bosa joined elite company as soon as he stepped on the field as a rookie.

Joey Bosa Grade/Ranks

 

Year Grade Rank
2019 89.6 5
2018 71.5 33
2017 88.8 8
2016 86.6 8
2015* 90.3 2
2014* 91.7 1

*College

Bosa’s NFL success should come as no surprise for those who believe in college defensive line production translating to the next level. Bosa dominated at Ohio State, posting the nation’s top grade among edge defenders in 2014 a sophomore, just a season before ranking second behind Garrett in 2015 as a junior. 

When he came out of college, most analysts agreed that Bosa was a top-five caliber pick, but the usual pre-draft questions were raised. Why did he “only” run a 4.77 40? Why did he “only” weigh 269 pounds? None of that mattered. Bosa excelled in his agility drills, and more importantly, his on-field production was in a class of its own. He has proven his worth as a top-five pick. 

For the Chargers, they enter the 2020 season with one of the best defensive units on paper, and keeping Bosa in the mix is crucial for long-term success. They boast one of the best secondaries in the game, and Bosa is the key reason they also have a top-10 defensive line. He pairs with Melvin Ingram to form one of the better pass-rush duos in the league, though Ingram has tapered off a bit over the last two years. That makes the Bosa signing even more important, as the Chargers have struggled to find consistent play on the defensive interior, and having Bosa on one side eases that burden.

Los Angeles has a tough task playing in the AFC West against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, and while Mahomes may never get stopped, the Chargers have loaded up to at least slow him down to give their offense a chance. Bosa is the key cog up front for the Chargers’ long-term build, and now they can turn their attention to the back-seven, where keeping the secondary strong should be the next order of business.

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