Nick Bosa's impact on the San Francisco 49ers’ defense during the 2019 season was evident from the get-go. The 2019 second overall pick came in and dominated from the, elevating the Niners’ pass rush into one of the most proficient in the NFL.
Bosa put up great numbers his rookie year, finishing with 9 sacks, 47 tackles, including 16 for a loss, en route to winning the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. Most of the award winners over the past 10 seasons are among the best defensive players in the league or are on the downside of their impressive careers, other than Kuechly, who is retired.
2011: Von Miller
2012: Luke Kuechly
2013: Sheldon Richardson
2014: Aaron Donald
2015: Marcus Peters
2016: Joey Bosa
2017: Marshon Lattimore
2018: Darius Leonard
2019: Nick Bosa
2020: Chase Young
Unfortunately, Bosa tore his ACL early in the second quarter of the Niners’ Week 2 win over the New York Jets last season. It was a devastating blow to the defensive line, trying to rebound from losing DeForest Buckner.
Still, Bosa is confident that he will bounce back better than ever next season. If the 23-year-old has a similar impact in 2021 as he did during his rookie season, general manager John Lynch and co. will need to back up the Brinks truck to keep him in San Francisco.
The four highest-paid defensive players in the NFL are:
Joey Bosa ($27 million AAV)
Myles Garrett ($25 million AAV)
Khalil Mack ($23.5 million AAV)
Aaron Donald ($22.5 million AAV)
Garrett signed his deal with the Cleveland Browns on Jul. 15 last year, making him the highest-paid defensive player in the league. That lasted for a little more than two weeks.
Joey Bosa inked his mega-deal with the Chargers on Aug. 1, taking the title from Garrett. As has been the case in the NFL, the next great player at a particular position will always get a bigger contract.
Bosa is a special talent who should return to being one of the game’s best defensive linemen. He will be eligible to sign the extension next offseason. With tight end George Kittle’s cap hit increasing by roughly $10.5 million in 2022 and All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner up for an extension now, the 49ers’ brass will need to get creative to not cap out the team once Bosa signs.
The salary cap for 2021 is set at $182.5 million. The pandemic’s economic fallout caused the NFL’s finances to take a major hit. Still, the league intends on having full stadiums next season, which along with the new TV deals, will result in a significant jump in the cap in the coming years.
San Francisco could take a similar approach to what the Kansas City Chiefs did for their mega-deals with Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones. The Chiefs heavily backloaded their contracts, so their cap hits and value will go up once the league’s finances stabilize.
For the Niners, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract is structured so that the team will only have a dead cap hit of $1.4 million if the Niners decided to move on from him after 2021, so that will free up some much-needed space under the salary cap going forward.
Even under optimal circumstances, it’s hard not to see Bosa eventually become the highest-paid defensive player in the league. With his brother Joey’s contract worth an average of $27 million, it’s easy to see Nick get something in the ballpark of $30 million when he signs his new deal.
What do you think will be the terms of Bosa’s extension?