Originally posted by 49Gorillas:
Highest paid "Defensive Player" for a middle linebacker is a tall order. I think he will be the highest paid at his position but there are so many varieties of linebackers that its hard to judge, some would say that outside linebackers are at a higher premium than middle linebackers. Ware in dallas could have asked for hansworth money when he had 20 sacks in a season, James Harrison for the steelers got his contract negotiated based off the fact that he was the defensive MVP of the year and domiated in the super bowl.
Willis is getting better and better every game, Has he reached Ray Lewis status? not completely but he is getting close. Ray lewis for about 6-8 years would make Running Backs so scared by the end of the first quarter that teams would abandon the run before halftime. If Ray got you in space it was 50/50 weather or not you got the wind knocked out of you or just got knocked out completely. Very rarely do O-Coordinators scheme for a middle line backers...except ray lewis and patrick willis.
I think we will extend his contract after this season and he will probably get a 7 year extension for 80-90 million with 40-50 garunteed. He seems like a guy who really like the 49ers and has loyalty, so he may even sign for less. I dont see him crossing 100mil though... of coarse unless his agent is ugene parker. Then he will hold out until we will trade him.
I see him as about top 3 paid at the ILB / MLB positions. I in know way see him getting Heynsworth money or as much as Ware probably deserves or Merriman if completely healthy. He isn't as much of a difference maker as them.
That's not insulting the guy. He's great. But he may or may not even be the best ILB in the league right now and certainly that position is a big impact on the game but not the biggest.