“We have to play with who we have.”
Nick Bosa’s playing status remains in jeopardy as San Francisco’s season opener approaches just days away.
The 49ers hit the practice field on Monday to prepare for their Week 1 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They have done it without Bosa, who is still holding out for a new contract.
Bosa is approaching the final year of his rookie deal and is set to earn $17.8 million through a fifth-year option picked by the 49ers. Bosa, a three-time MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, has outdone his deal and is reportedly seeking a long-term extension that would make him the highest-paid defensive player in football at over $32 million annually.
The two sides are He reportedly continues to work on the deal, But the clock is ticking to get the job done in time for Bossa to take on the Steelers. His status is a fact starting to show in the San Francisco locker room.
Fellow defender Talanoa Hovanga spoke to reporters about the possibility of playing on Sunday without Bossa.
“For us, we just have to play with what we have,” Hovanga said. “Obviously we’d love to have a bossa. I think that’s a no-brainer. The best defensive player in the NFL, and it shows.
“For us, we just have to prepare as if he’s not going to be here. That’s obviously a higher level question, it’s a front office question. And so, for me, I don’t know if I can answer anything else on that. But once he gets here, we’d like him to be with us.”
He commented Bosa’s place on San Francisco’s pre-season as the 49ers enter the regular season on the short list of Super Bowl favorites. He missed the entire training camp and pre-season while racking up over $4 million in fines. The San Jose Mercury News reports that the 49ers are expected to waive those fines once the deal goes through. They sure would love to do that with Bosa signing up just in time for the first week.
Coach Kyle Shanahan has repeatedly expressed his calm about Bossa’s continued absence. He said last week that he would “do everything he can” to get Bosa on the field against Pittsburgh regardless of his lack of preparation. But he’d like to see Bossa get some reps with his teammates first.
“Hopefully we’ll get a chance to get him into training next week,” Shanahan told reporters. “If that happens, that will make the decision much easier for us.”
Meanwhile, general manager John Lynch described the 49ers’ communications with Bosa and his representatives as “continuous,” “good,” and “healthy.” So the signs coming out of the 49ers camp are that the deal is done.
But that hasn’t happened yet. Bossa’s team mates play Sunday’s game with or without him.