The 49ers on Wednesday checked the last remaining box on their offseason to-do list. They agreed to terms on an extension with All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner that will keep him in the Bay Area for the foreseeable future. For the first time in a couple years the front office may be able to take a breath.
General manager John Lynch and the front office in their second offseason handed out a five-year, $137.5 million deal to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. In 2019 they dealt a second-round pick to acquire Dee Ford and then issued him a five-year deal worth $85.5 million. The following year was George Kittle’s turn with a five-year contract worth up to $75 million. This offseason began with Trent Williams’ six-year, $138.06 million deal and ended with the Warner’s five-year, $95 million agreement.
A quick look ahead to next offseason shows the 49ers’ front office could be in the clear on long-term extensions. Defensive end Nick Bosa will be eligible for an extension after this season, and his is sure to be another hefty one should he stay healthy and work his way back into the Defensive Player of the Year conversation.
However, this will only be his third year and he has a year with a club option left on his rookie contract. Negotiations may happen, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if a deal doesn’t come down until the 2023 offseason.
If Bosa doesn’t demand an extension after Year 3, there’s not a ton left for the 49ers front office to do in the immediate. There’ll be some work to do in free agency with a number of holes coming open on the roster and no first-round pick to work with. The big money additions could hit the pause button though for the first time in this regime’s tenure.
The good news is that shelling out big-money contracts is a good “problem” to have. Loading up on good players is typically a strong team-building strategy, FYI. Even if Bosa doesn’t demand on extension this year, he’ll earn one the following year. Then if Trey Lance is the star they believe he can be he’ll get a massive contract a couple years after that.
Managing the cap is going to be crucial for the 49ers as they maneuver through all these big-money deals. Of all the issues a front office has to navigate, this is the best one to have. If San Francisco continues having to work in top-of-market contracts for their players, chances are they’re going to be in contention too.