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San Francisco 49ers star Nick Bosa wins NFL Defensive Player of the Year

Ever since he made his debut with the San Francisco 49ers back in 2019, Nick Bosa has been among the most-dominant defensive players in the game.

The former No. 2 pick out of Ohio State earned NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors that season, recording 25 quarterback hits, 16 tackles for loss and nine sacks.

After an injury-plagued 2020 campaign that cost him all of two games, Bosa returned to form in 2021. He registered a league-high 21 tackles for loss to go with 15.5 sacks en route to leading San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game.

Now weeks removed from the 49ers’ 2022 season coming to an end, Bosa has earned the top individual award for the defensive side of the ball.

During NFL Honors on Thursday night, the three-time Pro Bowler was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He beat out the likes of fellow edge rusher Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys for the award.

  • Nick Bosa stats (2022): 48 QB hits, 19 tackles for loss, 18.5 sacks

In addition to leading the league with 18.5 sacks during the regular season, Bosa recorded an NFL-high 98 overall pressures.

Related: Nick Bosa and the top-100 NFL players of 2023

Nick Bosa NFL Defensive Player of the Year comes with contract talks looming

nick bosa nfl defensive player of the year
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Bosa joins the rest of his 2019 draft class in being eligible for an extension for the first time in his career. San Francisco is expected to get it done at some point this offseason, likely making him the highest-paid defensive player in league history.

“Another player set to make a lot of money, I mean a lot of money, is Nick Bosa. My understanding is this offseason is the time when the 49ers would like to do a deal. Of course, his target is going to be the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.”

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport on Bosa contract talks

Bosa, 25, will likely earn somewhere near quarterback money on his new deal. Right now, Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams is the highest-paid defender in the NFL with an average annual salary of $31.67 million. Fellow edge rusher T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers comes in second at $28 million annually.

The stud edge rusher is now looking at roughly $35 million annually on a deal that will also guarantee him the most money for a defensive player in league history. Winning his first NFL Defensive Player of the Year award adds another layer to this belief.

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