Lost in all of the potential Jimmy Garoppolo trade talks is the cap space that comes with moving on from your veteran quarterback.
This offseason, the 49ers will be tasked with retaining and enhancing their supporting cast for Trey Lance. If Marc’s offseason primer is accurate and the 49ers will have extra cash on hand by parting ways with Garoppolo and Dee Ford, some of that money will be needed to extend the first two picks of the 2019 NFL Draft.
49er fans no longer have the right to complain about draft picks. Nick Bosa missed all but five quarters of his sophomore campaign in the NFL while Deebo Samuel was in and out of the lineup as he only appeared in six games.
2021 was effectively each player’s second season in the NFL. Bosa and Samuel both made a case for being the most valuable player on their respective sides of the ball. The goal is to draft good players to help build the foundation of your roster.
Leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft, 49ers general manager John Lynch referred to six “foundational players” in that draft. Bosa and Samuel are the definitions of “foundational players.”
Lynch was asked to address how he’d approach Samuel’s contract and increased role and how that’d affect Deebo’s value:
Yeah, but on our wide back Deebo, first of all, what a spectacular season and I think a lot’s made of the creativity, the innovation which I think was supreme in finding a way to feature one of our best players.
But I think, not that it’s a sacrifice, but a lot of players wouldn’t necessarily buy-in and all Deebo wants to do is win. And I think his skillset, his will is the thing that I marvel at and admire so much.
And so I think, first of all, just paying respect to what he brings to us and the way he approaches the game, he’s a guy I sure would love to have had the opportunity to play with and we’re fortunate to have him.
And so, just to get it out of the way, with he and [DL] Nick [Bosa], we fully understand these guys are pillars of what we’re trying to do here. We’ve been blessed that we’ve been aggressive, because we’ve had a lot of players that we believe are some of the best in the league at what they do.
And these guys are no different. And so we have really good lines of communication with their representatives. Those will continue, I’m not going to put any timelines on it, but obviously, planning has been done to account for those guys.
And yes, there’s some interesting dynamics with Deebo playing multiple positions, but the bottom line, he’s an excellent football player. And so, I’m sure that we’ll find a way to get that done and like I said, it’s been budgeted for.”
“Pillars” takes the place of “foundational.”
There are a few reasons why Deebo may never be this good again. As impressive as it was that he decided to become one of the best running backs in the league overnight, Samuel was a necessity.
I doubt we’ll see the same type of volume for Samuel. That’s a lot of wear and tear. He’s already facing a lot of contact due to screens and underneath routes, but an additional 5-8 carries up the middle are why we saw Deebo limping to the podium and letting everyone know how sore he was.
A 1-2 punch of Elijah Mitchell and Raheem Mostert — who should come back — will take the onus off handing Deebo the ball. Now, with that said, prime Frank Gore could be on the roster, and I’d still be tempted to hand Deebo the ball.
And that’s what makes him a “pillar” type of player. There are no comparisons for what we saw Samuel do in 2021. There aren’t many for what Bosa did, either.
Despite coming off a season-ending knee injury, Bosa looked like a quicker, faster version of his rookie self. You know you’re a superstar when fans are disappointed if you go a game without a sack. Bosa finished the season with 15.5 sacks despite being one of the league leaders in double-team rate.
Over the Cap’s valuation of Samuel’s 2021 season was just north of $13.2 million. That would make Samuel the 20th highest-paid receiver in the league based on their annual salary. You can fudge the numbers in the contract to make the numbers say what you want — think what the team did with Trent Williams to leap David Bakhtiari. But that’d be outstanding value for Samuel.
The Niners won’t be as fortunate when it comes to extending Bosa, who might be able to name his price. Over The Cap valued Bosa’s ‘21 season over $20.8 million. T.J. Watt currently makes $28 million a year at 28-years-old while Nick’s older brother Joey makes $27 million per year at 27. It’s all about timing.
Bosa turned 24 last October. This was supposed to be the year where he gets his legs underneath him. Next year was supposed to be the 15.5 sack season. Bosa will be the highest-paid edge rusher whenever the 49ers decide to extend him, and deservedly so.
As Lynch said, both players are budgeted for. It’s a matter of when and how much, not if both players are retained.