49ers Urged to Hand Out Record-Breaking Contract: ‘Really Have No Choice’

Nick Bosa

Getty Nick Bosa on January 8, 2023 in Santa Clara.

There’s one last signing the San Francisco 49ers must address, one that could lead to record-shattering ramifications for the league.

ESPN NFL insider/columnist Bill Barnwell on Tuesday, May 30 offered up this stirring suggestion: Make Nick Bosa the highest-paid defender in league history — which catapults him past one rival in Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams.

“Pay Bosa a ton of money,” Barnwell began. “Coming off of a season in which he was Defensive Player of the Year and finished sixth in the league’s MVP balloting, the 49ers really have no choice but to make their star edge rusher the highest-paid defender in NFL history.”

Currently, Donald holds the title of highest-paid defender and non-quarterback. The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year makes an annual salary of more than $31.6 million per year with two years left on his deal he signed in 2022.

“A big, round number is coming; Bosa should be the first defensive player in league history to average more than $30 million per season on a multiyear deal,” Barnwell said.

That could mean this for Bosa and the 49ers off Barnwell’s suggestion: He surpasses the $28.6 million he’s projected to land by Spotrac (predicted a four-year, $114 million deal for him) and instead can hit the $32 million range. That extension could witness Bosa earn between $128 million to $160 million if the 49ers manage to sign him to a four-to-five-year deal.

Following his league-leading sack season and showing that he’s elevated his play each season in the league, Bosa is more than eligible for what Barnwell suggests.

49ers Teammate Raves About Nick Bosa’s Work ‘That You Don’t See’

There’s another reason why Bosa has cemented his case as someone up for a new wealthy deal: the work you don’t see involving Bosa. But the kind of work Arik Armstead has witnessed firsthand.

Speaking with ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter on his Insider podcast, Armstead believes Bosa’s off-the-field work is what makes him the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

“I think the thing about Nick is a lot of things that people don’t see on game day,” Armstead shared. “His approach, his preparation, his routine, his lifting program, his nutrition. He really locks in and sets himself up for success to go out there and cut it loose and just play.

“He’s a dominant player, but a lot of his dominance really comes from what he does when he’s not on the field and how he prepares himself to go out there and be that player,” Armstead continued. “So getting a chance to be around him for these years and watch his career grow, and us play together, and us win together, and playing alongside of him has been amazing.”

Arik Armstead Admits Part he Can’t Replicate Involving Nick Bosa

Bosa and Armstead have formed one of the more dominating defensive line tandems in the league. Armstead has provided his brute force and versatility while often freeing up Bosa.

But if there’s one thing that Armstead admits is difficult for him to follow involving Bosa, it involves matching the same meal plan.

“I can’t 100 percent replicate his diet and his nutrition because I play defensive tackle, and if I did, I would be a little too lean,” Armstead said. “So I got to get a little more extra carbs than he does.”

Still, even with Armstead being the longer-tenured veteran, he still feels he’s learned from being around Bosa.

“But definitely taking some things from him. He’s a smart guy. He knows how to take care of himself and prepare, and he’s a good teammate too,” he said.