Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Fred Warner’s Contract Extension is a Team-Friendly Deal for 49ers

Rohan Chakravarthi
Jul 25, 2021 at 10:45 AM--

On July 6th, I gave my initial thoughts on what a Fred Warner extension could potentially look like and just two weeks later, the linebacker signed a massive extension to stay with the 49ers.

Warner's five-year deal has a potential value of $95.225 million, including $40.5 million guaranteed.

The extension kicks in during the 2022 season, not the upcoming year, keeping Warner's current cap hit the same at a very reasonable $3.636 million.

Per Spotrac, Warner's cap hits are $8.164 million, $18.525 million, $22.1 million, $24.45 million, and $21.986 million from 2022–2026, respectively.

He earns $40.5 million in total guarantees to go with $27.5 million in money guaranteed at signing and a $12.32 million signing bonus.

There is a potential opt-out clause in 2024, two years into the deal, and the final two years are voidable, giving the 49ers a good amount of options when the time comes, be it a restructure, another extension, or even a cut, although that seems very unlikely.

Initial Thoughts vs Actual Contract

In my previous article, I had headlined two different potential Warner contracts, giving both four- and five-year possibilities, but I pointed out that the five-year option would be more likely due to salary cap purposes.

"If the two sides prefer a five-year deal, a potential deal could look like a five-year deal worth $92–95 million, with $50–52 guaranteed, topping Wagner's $18 million average per year and Mosley's $43 million guaranteed."

I was close enough on the contract details, but overshot on the guaranteed money.

In addition, I envisioned the signing bonus to be around $25–30 million, but the actual number fell far short of that.

"Look for a signing bonus around $25–30 million, which would be exorbitantly high for a linebacker, but helps the 49ers with their cap space issues. That way, with a backloaded contract, Warner's later years could be absorbed by the increase in salary cap."

However, the number came out to only $12.32 million, which is much more beneficial in the long-term for the 49ers, as they don't have to deal with as much guaranteed money towards the end of the deal.

While it was a monster deal for a linebacker, in my eyes, the deal seems somewhat team-friendly with the number of options the 49ers have with the contract and the lower amount of guaranteed money in all forms.

C.J. Mosley, who earned $43 million guaranteed as a part of his five-year, $85 million deal with the Jets, has underperformed due to a variety of injuries, so I thought it would make sense for Warner to eclipse him in that aspect.

Instead, Warner gets $40.5 million in total guarantees, which is still a large figure at the linebacker position.

Now, with an extension setting in only after next season, Warner's contract could align with Nick Bosa's as the latter is due for an extension next offseason.

Likewise, Warner's $8.164 million cap hit for the year is awfully low compared to the rest of the years on his deal, making ample space for a Bosa deal.

In addition, incumbent starter Jimmy Garoppolo will likely be gone after next season, via a trade if he performs well, or via a cut to shed his $27.5 million cap hit.

Who is the mastermind behind all this contract magic? Well, that's Paraag Marathe, the Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the 49ers, but more on him in an upcoming article.

When looking at Warner's deal, just like many other 49ers contracts in recent time, it's essentially two separate contracts: a three-year deal and a two-year deal.

Looking at the three-year deal, Warner gets $54.9 million over that course of time, still eclipsing Bobby Wagner's three-year, $54 million deal.

While it is far into the future, Warner's option years align around the time that Trey Lance could get an extension should he pan out, making that flexibility very important should the 49ers need cap space.

When the deal ends, Warner would be 30, setting up for another massive deal should he keeping performing at the high level that he is currently playing at.

However, I expect a restructure or extension to come around his age-28 or age-29 season, making a deal more fathomable as it would keep Warner under contract for his prime while also providing flexibility towards the later years of his career.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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