SANTA CLARA, Calif. — One thing’s for sure, the San Francisco 49ers’ linebackers said Wednesday: None of them will pick up the check for a D-line dinner again.
“Never, never,” said Clalen Ferrell, laughing. “Actually, we are now taking a trip on Line D.”
If there has been a weird, heavy vibe inside the 49ers’ locker room lately – what with their trading of Trey Lance and their inability to land a deal with their best defensive player – it was quickly tossed aside on Wednesday with the news that Nick Bosa has agreed to a five-year deal. Years would pay him an average of $34 million per season.
49ers, Bosa agrees to record $170 million extension
It seems to bring a boost of confidence and lightness.
Kyle Shanahan said he was preparing to dodge reporters’ questions about Bossa and a contract extension when news of the deal broke. Instead of holding a tense press conference, Shanahan could not hide a smile from his face. When asked how many snaps Bosa is expected to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Shanahan’s quick response was: “How many picks are there in the game?”
He later said that Bosa, who follows a strict diet and exercise regimen, would have to arrive with a belly of beer not to play for Pittsburgh.
He said, “This is not in Bossa’s DNA.”
Linebacker Fred Warner said he was near the 49ers cafeteria at lunchtime when he passed Steve Wilks in the hallway. Defensive coordinator Warner grabbed the star linebacker.
“Bossa here,” said Wilkes.
Warner could not contain his excitement.
“I was high,” he said about an hour later in the 49ers’ locker room. “You should have seen me scream earlier.”
Warner made his way straight to the locker room, where he delivered the initial speech to several of his 49ers teammates.
“I was walking over here and Fred came up screaming,” said defensive tackle Javon Hargrave. “Everyone was looking at their phones and talking about it.”
“Everyone kind of cheered,” linebacker Kyle Goczyk said. “It was a little celebration here.”
Bossa’s resilience, which lasted 44 days, certainly had repercussions.
It meant freshman right tackle Colton McKeevitz, who takes on developing rusher TJ Watt on Sunday, never managed to hone his skills against the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Bosa and Watt are similar, MacKevitz said.
He said, “Yes, they are both explosives.” “They play hard. The one thing you see (with Watt) is that he never stops playing.
McKevitz said he’s hoping to get some repeats against Bossa before the team heads out to Pittsburgh on Friday afternoon.
On the other hand, Bossa’s absence allowed the team’s other defensive ends – newcomer Ferrell and second-year player Drake Jackson – to get plenty of iterations. One of them will start opposite Bossa in Pittsburgh, possibly Ferrell, who hasn’t missed any spring or summer workouts.
Even Kerry Hyder Jr., who is entering his third season with the team, noted that he spent last season at defensive tackle. This year he’s back on the defensive side and has appreciated all the shots he’s taken there.
“This defense is about the actors, I think,” Haider said. “It was great for me to get out there and get back to swinging things around. It always helps to get extra reps.
Despite star left Trent Williams always believing the 49ers and Bosa would come to an agreement, doubts about the timing of the operation began to creep in on Wednesday morning.
“When we got here today, I started to worry about whether it would get done in enough time to play this weekend,” Williams said.
In a well-established 49ers’ locker room tradition, Bosa pulls out a chair in Williams’ locker after every game. The two professional players explain what happened during the previous 60 minutes of match time. They are often joined by other stars in their locker room full of them.
Locker room tops after the game with Trent Williams and Nick Bosa: 49ers starters
Those meetings with Bossa can now go ahead according to their original schedule, and Williams is thrilled about it.
“I miss that part of it, but I don’t miss blocking it one bit,” Williams said. “I miss being able to pick each other’s minds. He’s here, he’s in my corner, I’m in his corner — I definitely miss him.
“Even though he looks quiet and monotonous, he’s a big part of this dressing room. Lots of people really follow him. We learn a lot from him in terms of how to handle your body, dedication, eating right, sleeping right. He’s one of those people you need Right in the locker room.
Bosa’s locker, full of mail delivery because its owner hasn’t been around for several months, is soon to be reoccupied by one of the best players in the game. Although they were joking about the size of Bossa’s salary, none of the players envied him for the amount.
“He is not only a teammate, but a friend of mine,” Haider said. “So to see him get paid that way, that’s a blessing. We’re excited for him. He deserves it. He works hard and puts everything on the pitch, man. So, to see him get what he’s worked for, we’re excited for him. One thing It’s about the NFL – not everyone always gets their fair due, so when you see someone like that get their due, it definitely gets you excited for everyone involved.
49ers Over/Under: INT count for Brock Purdy; How to adjust total nick bossa cyst?
Receiver Brandon Ayuk sure was excited.
“We have a whole team now,” he said.
In terms of the bigger financial picture, Ayuk may be in line for a senior contract from the team in 2024, because he was drafted the year after Bossa and is set to play in 2024 based on his option for a fifth year. A reporter asked Ayuk if he was next to get paid, and the recipient smiled softly in response.
“We’ll see,” he said.
Odds and ends
• The 49ers trained without players on Wednesday. Williams had a rest day and inside linebacker John Feliciano was out due to illness.
Every other player on the active roster has trained, including starters George Kettle (groin), Talanoa Hofanga (knee), and Tashaun Gibson Sr. (back), who are listed as limited.
Also limited was running back Ray-Ray McCloud III, who broke his wrist midway through training camp but was playing balls with a brace on his arm early in practice. McCloud said he suffered a similar fracture on his other wrist when he was a junior in college, played with a solid brace all season and never suffered a drop.
“It honestly made me stronger,” he said. “It made me focus more, it made me focus.”
McCloud hopes to face his former team, the Steelers, on Sunday. If he is unable to play, rookie player Ronnie Bell will assume the role of returning man and backup receiver.
The other 49 players injured are linebacker Orin Burks (knee), running back Jordan Mason (foot), and kicker Jake Moody (quadruple). It was also limited on Wednesday.
Shanahan said he would be surprised if Modi was not fired on Sunday.
“It looks good and I feel good about it,” he said.
• The 49ers have named six team captains: Eric Armstead, Kettle, Brock Purdy, Debo Samuel, Warner and Williams.
Shanahan said he was particularly pleased that Samuel was a leader. He was the team’s MVP in 2021 but ran into a contract dispute the following season and by his own admission didn’t prepare and play as well last year.
“I think he was disappointed he didn’t get the captaincy last year,” Shanahan said. “I know he was. For him to be one of those guys, especially how he finished a bit last year, I think shows how dedicated he is. You guys saw that on the pitch. And the players feel that strongly too.
(Top photo of Trent Williams hugging Nick Bosa: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The Football 100, the definitive ranking of the 100 greatest NFL players of all time, goes on sale this fall. Pre-order here.
(tags for translation) San Francisco 49ers