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Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN: 49ers have ‘no choice’ in Nick Bosa contract negotiations

Jun 3, 2023 at 4:09 PM--

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Nick Bosa isn't stressing over his contract negotiations. Why should he? The pass rusher has built an impressive resume since the San Francisco 49ers made him the No. 2 overall pick in 2019.

Bosa's nine sacks in 2019 helped him earn NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. His 2020 campaign was cut short by an ACL injury, but it wasn't enough to slow down the talented defensive end. Bosa led the 49ers with 15.5 sacks the next season.

Bosa racked up a league-leading 18.5 sacks last season on his way to being named NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The 49ers bought themselves some time by exercising the 25-year-old's fifth-year option, ensuring he remains with the team through the upcoming season. Ideally, though, the Niners would like to get a long-term deal done, ensuring Bosa sticks around for the foreseeable future.

Bill Barnwell of ESPN recently analyzed each NFL team's offseason. Looking at the 49ers and what team decision-makers have left to do, the longtime scribe doesn't believe the organization has many options outside of making Bosa the richest defender in league history.

"Coming off of a season in which he was Defensive Player of the Year and finished sixth in the league's MVP balloting, the 49ers really have no choice but to make their star edge rusher the highest-paid defender in NFL history," Barnwell wrote. "A big, round number is coming; Bosa should be the first defensive player in league history to average more than $30 million per season on a multi-year deal."

Few will argue that Bosa deserves the massive payday. He is a consistent focal point for opposing coaches looking to protect their quarterbacks.

Those worried about what a potentially ground-breaking contract extension for Bosa might do to the 49ers' salary cap situation can set their minds at ease—at least for the upcoming season. That's because his 2023 cap impact will likely be less than whan his fifth-year option would have paid, thanks to what should be a hefty signing bonus number spread across the length of the deal.

"Well, they don't have to make room for it because I think a contract extension for Nick Bosa will actually reduce the salary cap space—or I should say reduce his cap number—this first season," Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area recently said on the 49ers Talk podcast. "Where you'll see it will be in future years where he makes a lot of money, and I fully expect him to be the highest-paid defensive player in the game.

"[As for] when it gets done, I don't think it's going to be a real easy negotiation. They have a track record of getting these contracts done, whether it's George Kittle, whether it's Fred Warner, whether it's Deebo Samuel. So each year they've gotten a big-time contract done with a guy who is already under contract, as Bosa is. But it usually is right in the shadow of the start of training camp.

"And so if the 49ers can get that done with Nick Bosa, more than likely, it would be late July. They don't want it spilling over into training camp. But this one, boy, this one wouldn't surprise me if it does go into August a little bit."

Back in February, general manager John Lynch didn't sound overly concerned about the negotiations, citing, as Maiocco did, the team's track record in getting deals done.

"He's represented by very good and capable people," Lynch said. "And you heard Nick yesterday. He never seems to get too excited. He's pretty chill about the whole thing. And I think with that in mind and each of us wanting the same thing, we'll be able to come to an agreement."

As he does every year, Bosa has been training in Florida for the upcoming season. He's left the negotiations in the hands of his representatives, hoping they find a way to ensure he remains in red and gold for a long time.

"I'd love to be here, for sure," Bosa said on January 31, after admitting that becoming the highest-paid defender in NFL history isn't necessarily a priority. "This is a great organization. They treat you as good as [anyone] can. I have amazing relationships here, so hopefully [I stay], yeah."


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