We can talk all we want about pending and incoming free agents, potential draft picks, and other possible additions to the 49ers roster until we are blue in the face. General manager John Lynch has said the contracts for Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel are “budgeted for.”
The Niners don’t make the playoffs in 2021 without Samuel and Bosa. The future isn’t bright without those two, either. The question isn’t whether these two get paid. It’s how much.
Former NFL agent Joel Corry of CBS Sports believes Bosa has a chance to become the first $30 million-per-year non-quarterback player in the NFL.
Bosa has two years remaining on his contract if you assume the Niners will exercise his fifth-year option. That’s important as Myles Garrett, and other top rushers also had two years remaining on their contracts when they were extended.
Corry does a fantastic job of outlining why Bosa will reset the non-quarterback market. His agent, Brian Ayrault, oversaw Joey Bosa and Aaron Donald’s record-breaking deals, which is a big reason why.
Here’s what Corry thinks will happen:
This would put Nick Bosa’s deal between $30.25 million and $33 million per year based on the increases Ayrault got for his brother and Donald. Ayrault will likely have the distinction of negotiating the first $20 million-per-year and $30 million-per-year non-quarterback deals.
The 49ers will want five new contract years from Bosa if linebacker Fred Warner’s deal is any indication. Warner was the first off-ball linebacker to hit the $19 million-per-year mark with the five-year extension he received from the 49ers just before the start of training camp.
Taking these dynamics into consideration, Bosa could get a deal along the lines of the following if the timing is similar to Garrett’s contract, which was signed about two weeks before the start of training camp in 2020.
Average per year: $30.5 million
Overall guarantees: $110 million
Fully guaranteed: $85 million
Contract length: 5-year extension
Contract structure considerations
The easiest way to accomplish this structurally would be to employ the signing/option bonus model in Garrett and Warner’s contracts. An option bonus is essentially an additional signing bonus that’s usually paid in the second or third year of a contract to exercise a later year or years in a deal. Since an option bonus is given the same treatment on the salary cap as signing bonus, it is also prorated or evenly spread out over the life of a contract for a maximum of five years. Topping Donald’s $40 million signing bonus would not be feasible with a signing/option bonus contract structure.
Bosa is one of the rare players in the NFL that will sign a deal, and, no matter the number, most of us will come away thinking, “yeah, that sounds about right.”
I’m not looking forward to an offseason that centers around, “when will Bosa get extended?” But, it’s coming, and the contract will be more than many expect. Based on the product Bosa put on the field, it’ll be deserved.