All-pro linebacker Fred Warner is in line for a huge payday from the San Francisco 49ers, the details of which were projected publicly on social media June 19.
Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Warner is eligible for a new deal before the regular season begins in September.
According to a graphic posted to Instagram by Bleacher Report Gridiron and shared as part of San Francisco teammate George Kittle’s Instagram story on Saturday, the projected details of Warner’s contract extension include $75 million paid out over four years. A total of $40.5 million would be guaranteed.
Warner Deal With Niners Not Done, But Both Sides Motivated
Warner is still under contract for another full season, which will be his fourth in the NFL. But the 49ers have a lot of reasons to want to keep him around. First and foremost, he has never missed a game in his entire career.
“I want to get it done, personally,” Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco head coach, said of Warner’s potential contract extension in May. “I kind of feel like I’d say the same about him as I did about Kittle when we were talking about it. I just see that kind of as a matter of time. I know he’s not going into his free agent year or anything like that, so that’s why it’s not always on my mind. But Fred’s a guy that I plan on being here forever and who has earned that. I’d be surprised if that doesn’t start sooner than later.”
In keeping with his durability on the field, Warner has continued to make himself available off of it, even as contract negotiations with the 49ers stretch on.
The team has hosted seven practices to date this offseason. Their top-performing linebacker has been in attendance for every one, saying he is unconcerned by the prospect of injury.
“I could get hurt walking across the street,” Warner said. “You can get hurt all types of ways. But it never crossed my mind to miss this OTA. I know this is a big part of not only my growth, but the team as a whole getting out here working together, seeing things, playing ball, it just sets up that foundation that you want to then work into the season and be firing like you want to.”
Players will report to Niners training camp on July 27, with practices beginning July 31. At that point, contact on the practice field will increase significantly. Warner has not indicated whether he will participate in those practices or sit them out based on the status of his contract extension.
Warner Could ‘Set Market’ at Linebacker Position
In a recent article for Bleacher Report, David Lombardi noted that like Kittle did before him at tight end, Warner has a chance to set the market financially for the linebacker position. The 49ers signed Kittle to a five-year, $75 million extension last offseason, locking down the All-Pro for the long-term.
A similar approach has been expected with Warner, and the linebacker has displayed the level of value that demands a contract like the one Bleacher Report is projecting the 49ers will offer.
Pro Football Focus recently took a look at the best players in the NFL under 25 years of age, both on offense and defense. When the dust settled, the experts at PFF had chosen Warner as the best of the bunch.
But beyond just being the best overall player under 25 based on PFF rankings, the author of the piece posited Warner might already be the best linebacker in the entire NFL.
“Warner has become arguably the game’s best linebacker, a position that has become ever-more difficult to play given how good NFL offenses have become at attacking defensive weaknesses,” author Sam Monson wrote in his article, which was published on June 15, 2021. “The former third-round pick earned a PFF coverage grade of 91.1 in 2020, allowing a passer rating of just 81.9 into his coverage, some 25 points lower than the average at the position.”
Warner has played three seasons in the NFL. He has started all 48 regular season games for the Niners over that span.
The outside linebacker, who stands at 6-feet, 3-inches tall and weighs in at 236 pounds, is not only great in pass coverage but is also elite at swarming the ball and making tackles in the open field. Warner has tallied 367 tackles in his first three seasons, along with 15 for loss and 14 quarterback hits.
Warner has also totaled five forced fumbles, four sacks, three fumble recoveries and three interceptions, along with 21 passes defended. He has scored one defensive touchdown, per Pro Football Reference.