The market has just changed forever for NFL defensive linemen, by virtue of a longtime rival of the San Francisco 49ers.
After weeks of wondering if Aaron Donald had played his last NFL game, the Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman signed a blockbuster three-year, $95 million deal that allows him to stay with the Rams until 2024, first reported by the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Donald’s new deal now elevates him to an average salary of $31,666,667 per Spotrac. Also included is a $25 million signing bonus.
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What Would Become Price Range for Bosa After Donald’s Deal?
Bosa no longer has the chance to become the NFL’s first defensive lineman to be paid more than $30 million annually now that the 49ers’ longtime adversary Donald holds that title.
The Athletic’s David Lombardi unveiled the newest defensive linemen leaderboard in average per year salary on Monday, June 6 following Donald’s new deal — featuring the 49er’s brother Joey now sitting at No. 3:
However, Lombardi said that Bosa still has a chance to join A.D. in a category all to themselves.
“An interesting question had been: Would Nick Bosa be the first D-lineman to crack $30 million APY?” Lombardi asked on Twitter. “No to that, but it’s now likelier than ever that Bosa’s new contract with the 49ers does reach $30 million APY.”
This points to two directions: Bosa could still pass over both his L.A. Chargers sibling and T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers by hitting the $30 million mark but still trail Donald, or surpass the $31.6 million range to surpass Donald’s salary.
Jason Hurley, who runs the website 49erscap.com which follows the 49ers’ salary cap related activities, is a believer that Bosa can still top what the Rams rewarded Donald.
“I’ve been saying this for months, I see Bosa getting in the $32M a year range on an extension,” Hurley tweeted.
There’s this added projection from Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus: A deal that puts Bosa at $150 million.
But is there enough in the bank for the 49ers to pour that kind of money into Bosa’s account?
What the 49ers Can Now Work With
Good news for those predicting a hefty extension for the pass rusher soon to enter his fourth season in the league: The 49ers have more financial wiggle room.
Before Alex Mack announced his retirement, the 49ers had the league’s worst salary cap space at less than $705,000 available. But now that the Pro Bowl center restructured his contract then announced he was calling it a career on Friday, the 49ers managed to get out of the salary cap dweller. The franchise now has $4,730,153 left in cap space according to Over The Cap. Now, the New England Patriots have the league’s worst cap space.
Mack’s decision not only gave the ‘Niners the greenlight to sign their 2022 NFL Draft class, but the move gives the 49ers leverage in working on long-awaited extensions for both Bosa and wide receiver Deebo Samuel.
Bosa’s four-year, $33,551,865 contract he signed as his rookie deal is set to expire in 2024. His base salary is projected to hit $17,859,000 in 2023. But if the 49ers want to make Bosa even richer, Donald and the Rams helped set the bar high there with their mega extension.