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What a Nick Bosa contract extension from the San Francisco 49ers will look like

Nick Bosa and his camp had to be doing cartwheels over news earlier this offseason that division-rival Aaron Donald earned a huge pay raise from his Los Angeles Rams.

Donald agreed to a new contract that pretty much equates to a two-year, $60 million extension with the Rams. In the process, he set the bar as the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history.

This massive piece of news came before Bosa’s camp actually started negotiating an extension with San Francisco. Per those close to the situation, something will likely be hashed out between the two sides at some point in July. Contract talks have now been initiated, leading to increased optimism that something will get done ahead of San Francisco’s first preseason game on Aug. 12.

  • Nick Bosa contract: 4 years, $33.55 million; $17.86 million 2023 option pickeed up, free agent in 2024

Having already picked up the fifth-year option on Bosa’s rookie contract, some might conclude that San Francisco shouldn’t be in a hurry to sign him to an extension. That’s foolish. And in reality, the Donald extension tells us why. Simply put, the market continues to reset itself. The longer San Francisco waits, the more it is going to cost the team long-term.

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What will a Nick Bosa contract extension look like?

nick bosa contract extension
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not an apples and oranges comparison. While Donald is a defensive tackle and Bosa does his work out on the edge, the former has proven to be the most-dominant defender in the NFL during his eight-year stint with the Rams. He transcends positions. The same thing can be said for a player in Bosa who has also dominated during his brief tenure in Northern California.

Last season saw the Ohio State product tally 32 quarterback hits and 15.5 sacks while leading the NFL with 21 tackles for loss. He’s obviously an important cog for a contending 49ers team.

When looking solely at edge pass rushers, Pittsburgh Steelers star T.J. Watt leads the club with an average annual salary of $28.002 million. He’s followed in line by Nick Bosa’s brother, Joey, at $27 million per season. Bosa’s next deal will outpace these two. There’s little question about that.

It will then be all about structure with 49ers cap guru Paraag Marathe doing the hard work behind the scenes. The expectation is that any Bosa contract would be back-loaded to take into account the increased NFL salary cap due to its historic TV contract. Here’s how we envision it looking.

  • Projected Nick Bosa contract: 5 years, $155 million w/ $90 million fully guaranteed

Watt received $80 million guaranteed at signing and $28 million per. Those numbers were a direct result of the market at the time. Now that Donald has signed his record-breaking extension, things have changed.

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San Francisco doesn’t seem intent on just letting this play out. General manager John Lynch said during the spring that “it’s all good there” when discussing Nick Bosa contract extension talks.

While the Deebo Samuel situation remains firmly up in the air, everything has been positive between Bosa and his 49ers. This is a great sign as they attempt to lock up one of the better defensive players in the NFL on what would be a record-breaking deal.

If that doesn’t happen Nick Bosa will play out the 2022 campaign with a $10.81 million cap hit. He’d then be set to earn a base salary of $17.86 million in 2023 short of an extensino being signed next spring. The goal here for both sides has to be to get something done.