Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers signing star LB Fred Warner to a 5-year, $95 million extension

Jul 21, 2021 at 9:38 AM--

According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, the San Francisco 49ers are signing star linebacker Fred Warner to a five-year, $95 million extension with $40.5 million in guarantees. The $19 million per year average makes him the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL.

Most assumed that one of the team's offseason priorities would be to lock up linebacker Fred Warner for the foreseeable future. The fourth-year player was entering the final year of his rookie contract.

The signing comes six days before 49ers players are scheduled to report to training camp in Santa Clara.

In his three seasons since being made a third-round pick out of BYU in 2018, Warner has proven to be one of the best linebackers in the league, earning his first All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections this past season. A strong argument can be made that he deserved the recognition in previous years.

Warner practiced with his teammates all offseason despite his contract situation being up in the air.

"Obviously, I want to be a Niner for life, too, right?" Warner told reporters in May. "I know all that stuff will work itself out in due time, and I'm just focused on being the best player I can for this team."

Warner, 24, led the 49ers defense in tackles by a significant margin during each of his three NFL seasons. He recorded a career-high 125 tackles last season, per Pro Football Reference, while adding five tackles for a loss, seven quarterback hits, a sack, two interceptions, six passes defensed, and a forced fumble.

Warner was San Francisco's highest-graded defender in 2020, and his 88.6 overall Pro Football Focus grade was the highest among NFL linebackers. If you think that is impressive, the linebacker told fans to "stay tuned." The young star feels there is so much more to come.

"I have so much growth that still needs to happen," Warner told NBC Sports Bay Area in January, "and that's the great part about this game — is you've never got it. The moment you say that you've got something, that's when you lose it, and I think I'm just going to continue to get better because ultimately, I'm trying to get that ring on my finger at the end of this."

Warner has recorded 367 tackles, four sacks, 21 passes defensed, three interceptions, a touchdown, and five forced fumbles through his three NFL seasons.

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