Extensions for Deebo Samuel and Nick Bosa among San Francisco 49ers priorities – San Francisco 49ers Blog

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Given the scale of the earth-shattering move the San Francisco 49ers have made to get their quarterback of the future, it’s hard to call a more critical offseason than what they did in 2021. .

But, in part because rookie flagger Trey Lance didn’t pick up the slack after the Niners traded up to No. 3 to draft him, this offseason is almost as important. Many of the decisions coach Kyle Shanahan, general manager John Lynch and their teams make this offseason will be to help Lance in 2022 when, presumably, he takes over as a long-term starter.

With that in mind, here’s a look at what the Niners need to do to be a Super Bowl contender again.

Extensions for Bosa and Deebo

Much like the past few years with players like tight end George Kittle and linebacker Fred Warner, the Niners have two franchise centerpieces that need massive contract extensions: defensive end Nick Bosa and wide back Deebo Samuel. Much like Kittle and Warner, deals for the two are unlikely to happen before the end of the summer.

Still, the Niners have planned for both.

“We totally understand that these guys are the mainstays of what we’re trying to do here,” Lynch said. “We’ve been lucky to have been aggressive because we’ve had a lot of players who we think are some of the best in the league at what they do. And those guys are no different. … I’I I’m sure we’ll find a way to do that, it’s in the budget.

Get quarterback clarity ASAP

The idea that the Niners will keep starter Jimmy Garoppolo again is far-fetched, despite San Francisco’s efforts to publicly maintain that leverage. Garoppolo, meanwhile, expects to be traded and would like to have a say in where he lands.

“I have a long career ahead of me,” Garoppolo said. “I’m excited about the opportunities ahead. I just want to go where they want to win.”

There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of recent playoff contenders who need a quarterback. Pittsburgh, Washington, Denver, New Orleans, Tampa Bay and Indianapolis are just a few of the teams that could be in the market for Garoppolo.

Ideally, a trade would materialize sooner rather than later, even if it may not become official until the league’s new year opener on March 16. That would give the Niners some certainty about how much cap space they need to negotiate with their free agents and make on the outside. additions. It would also allow Garoppolo to help steer his destination ahead of the stoppage of this year’s quarterback musical chairs game.

It would also clear the decks for Lance to become the starter and give San Francisco a chance to find a capable veteran replacement – ​​Tyrod Taylor, perhaps? — in free agency.

Set the salary cap

As it stands, the Niners estimate they’ll enter the league’s new year about $10 million over the salary cap. They must be in compliance with their top 51 earning players by March 16.

Resolving Garoppolo’s situation is the most important piece of the Niners’ offseason financial equation, as trading him would instantly save $25.55 million.

Defensive end Dee Ford is another expected departure, although his situation is more complicated. Ford had a fully guaranteed $4.6 million bonus on Feb. 15 due to injury, meaning the Niners can only save $2.4 million by releasing him. These savings can only be realized by including a designation after June 1 and can only be used after that date.

Which means the Niners, in addition to moving Garoppolo, will have to explore other avenues to create cap space. The most common way to do this would be to simply restructure contracts (convert base salaries into signing bonuses that can be spread over the remaining years of a contract). Kittle, defensive lineman Arik Armstead and free safety Jimmie Ward are among the targets of such a move, with the Niners potentially saving up to around $24 million by restructuring their contracts.

Doing all of those things could give the Niners around $40 million in cap space for 2022.

keep their own

Once again, the 49ers have a long roster — 33 players — ready to hit some form of free agency. Scheduled unrestricted free agents include left guard Laken Tomlinson, cornerbacks Jason Verrett and K’Waun Williams, defensive tackle DJ Jones, safety Jaquiski Tartt, defensive end Arden Key and running back Raheem Mostert . Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair is the headliner of the restricted free agent squad.

Last year, when the pandemic kept the salary cap low and depressed the market, the Niners kept more free agents than expected. Similar factors could be in play this year, but players like Tomlinson, Jones and Key should have plenty of suitors.

Keeping that trio should be the top priority, but even keeping two of the three would be considered a win.

Outside help on the offensive line and at cornerback

Depending on how much cap flexibility the Niners can create, what they budget for Samuel and Bosa, and which free agents they can keep, they should also ask for help at cornerback and inside the offensive line. Maybe they’ll have to wait until the NFL Draft for such reinforcement, and with three picks on Day 2 (but none in the first round), they have the resources to keep adding to those spots.

If they can find a way to make it work, adding a difference maker to the cornerback in free agency could make the Niners’ defense one of the best in the league. That doesn’t mean they have to spend the kind of money that will go to a top free agent such as New England’s JC Jackson or Tampa Bay’s Carlton Davis if either comes on the market. free. But a proven veteran who will cost a lot but not break the bank on a shorter contract (think Carolina’s Stephon Gilmore) would make a lot of sense.

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