Chargers’ Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa Discuss Pay Cuts, Hopes For 2024 Season

As part of the cap-strapped Chargers’ efforts to bring themselves into cap compliance before the new league year opened in March, the club released wide receiver Mike Williams and traded fellow wideout Keenan Allen. Edge defenders Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack also profiled as trade candidates, though both ultimately remained with Los Angeles on reworked contracts.

Those new deals were originally reported as restructures, which often means that void years are being added and/or that a player’s base salary is being converted into a signing bonus in order to spread out their cap charge and create more cap space in the upcoming year. However, as Daniel Popper of The Athletic notes, Bosa and Mack actually accepted pay cuts, and both players cited the talent of the LA roster as a primary reason for their decision (subscription required).

Mack, who is entering his age-33 season but who has never won a playoff game, stated that the club’s hire of new head coach Jim Harbaugh also factored into his willingness to take a pay cut. Mack said of Harbaugh, “he’s like a simple dude. He’s not going to tell you what you want to hear. He kind of just kept it real and told me, ‘Well, if we’ve got this many guys on each side, we can win.’ And he’s like, ‘We have this number now, and we can work on building some certain guys up or bringing certain guys in.'”

While the Chargers had a disappointing 2023 campaign, Mack himself was terrific, posting a career-high 17 sacks. He is under club control through 2024, and although he will be 34 if/when he hits the open market next offseason, a similar showing this year could allow him to land another lucrative multiyear pact. He also believes that, despite the misfortune that seems to plague the Bolts, and despite the loss of several top offensive performers, the Harbaugh-led outfit is well-equipped to make a postseason run.

“I know these guys, man,” Mack said. “They got what it takes in this locker room, starting with the quarterback. And then you got my guys on defense. It’s just a lot of different intangibles that you look for when you want to have a running mate and teammates. So just understanding these guys and knowing their capabilities.”

Bosa, meanwhile, is about to turn 29 and therefore has more time than Mack to experience playoff success. When discussing his own pay cut, he said simply, “I want to win. I want to be on this team. I want another shot with the guys in this room, especially [Mack]. … Winning football games is more important to me right now than making some extra money.”

While Bosa certainly wants to enjoy a championship season with the team that drafted him and is under club control through 2025, he is not due any more guaranteed money after the 2024 season. Given that, and given that he was nearly on the chopping block this offseason, it is certainly possible that this will be his last year with the Chargers, as ESPN’s Kris Rhim notes.

Like the Watt brothers, Bosa and his little brother, 49ers star Nick Bosa, have discussed the possibility of playing together. If that were to happen at any point in the near future, it would be in San Francisco, as the younger Bosa is under contract with the Niners through 2028. Per Rhim, those conversations have never been serious, but it seems both players are open to the possibility.

“It’d be cool at some point,” Joey Bosa said. “I always thought of myself being somebody that will play [with the Chargers] and retire here, which I think not many people do on one team and I think would be a cool thing to accomplish, but you never know. I’m going to worry about this year first. … I think we have a great opportunity here, and who knows, maybe I’ll have a great year this year and then things can change down the road.”

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