The Great Defensive End Debacle in San Diego

Written by Matt Martinez, AFC West Beat Writer, @martzmadness on the Fantasy Life App and @martz2517 on Twitter

Many would struggle to think of a relevant defensive player for the San Diego Chargers in the most recent years. “Lights Out” Shawne Merriman would probably be the first to come to mind, as well as shutdown safety and the recently departed Eric Weddle. Manti Te’o is certainly famous and known, but conversation never seems to be about his performance on the field.

Let’s get something straight: the Chargers’ defense was putrid last year. They finished 4-12 on the season, and with a garbage time Phillip Rivers putting up surprising numbers. The defense (and the bust of Melvin Gordon) is a large part of what ushered them into obscurity last year. As far as defense goes, they need help. Lots of it. Where better to find fresh, great players than in the NFL draft?

With a third overall pick which they truly “earned” (or rather, deserved), the Chargers selected Joey Bosa, a defensive end out of Ohio State. The kid is good at what he does. A defensive end being drafted that high is impressive, and he has the stats to back it up: 26 sacks over three years, accompanied by 50.5 tackles for losses over the same span. The Chargers defensive ends in 2015 were hardly recognizable, so the addition of Bosa was intended to bolster the 3-4 defense, a scheme to which the defensive end is crucial.

But alas, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. That goes double if she’s a mother. Bosa’s mom (you’re reading that right, this is about his MOM) has basically convinced him that playing for the Chargers is beneath him. She’s trying to get him to hold out of his contract like Elway did with the Baltimore Colts…except there’s a major fundamental difference between Elway and Bosa. If nobody picked up Elway, he had a fallback in major league baseball. What’s Joey Bosa going to do? It’s worth considering, as well, that he hasn’t done any camp work or preseason work at all. The whole thing reeks of the most recent episode of HBO’s “Ballers”, where (*SPOILER ALERT*) Ricky Jarrett’s father sub-tweets New Orleans to tell them that he’s not interested in his contract…when in fact, he’s actually VERY interested. Bottom line, if you ever find yourself the parent of a potential NFL star…don’t follow this example.

Bosa’s name is being drug through the mud right now, with people calling him a mama’s boy and, frankly, much less endearing terms than that. Barring the most desperate of teams, Bosa is highly unlikely to touch an NFL contract this year. It bears repeating that the Chargers ARE desperate for a defensive end, and yet their offer is now reportedly off the table.

What does this mean for the Chargers’ fantasy value? Invest in Rivers and Allen, as the team will likely be airing it out as their defense continues to get blown apart in the maelstrom. Also bear in mind that the Chargers now have a considerable receiver stable, with hoodie-wearing veteran James Jones joining a decent corps and giving Rivers more weapons. Oh, and if I haven’t made myself perfectly clear…DON’T take the Chargers defense.

What should you expect from Joey Bosa? All I can say is that his name is too close to Boz for him to have anything resembling a decent career. Like the Boz, he’ll go down as a never-was whose storylines off the field are what people remember. And down one valuable first round pick, the struggling Chargers will have to find their way out of the abyss that they’ve stumbled in. The only good news in sight is that the Denver Broncos QB’s are making the case that the Chargers might not finish last in the division this year.