The San Francisco 49ers could make a unique and family related pass-rushing tandem in NFL free agency in 2021 by adding EDGE Joey Bosa to pair with their own, Nick Bosa.
For now, the San Francisco 49ers aren’t thinking too much about what the landscape will be in 2021 NFL free agency.
Yet there are potentially some interesting developments which could ultimately impact general manager John Lynch‘s decision-making process. For starters, the 2021 salary cap is expected to increase a full 20 percent over this year’s total, going up to an estimated $240 million. While a good chunk of that will ultimately be needed to negotiate a new contract for tight end George Kittle, it’s possible the Niners can play a little bit on the free-agent market a year from now.
One name to watch is Los Angeles Chargers EDGE Joey Bosa.
Bosa, who’ll turn 25 years old before the start of this season, is entering a contract year on his fifth-year option. It’s possible, perhaps likely Los Angeles places the franchise tag on him if it’s unable to reach a long-term deal. But for now, Bosa is a pending free agent after this upcoming season.
Meanwhile, the 49ers’ top pick from the 2019 NFL Draft, Nick Bosa, surely wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to play alongside his older brother.
Last year, the two combined for an astounding 20.5 sacks. And they ended up being the subject matter of a recent Bleacher Report Gridiron video:
Humorous enough, yes. Now just imagine the two together in Niners uniforms.
To go beyond the mere fandom of suggesting a Bosa-Bosa brotherly pairing in San Francisco, one has to figure how the 49ers would be able to make this work, financially.
A lot of that depends on how the team decides to handle another EDGE, Dee Ford, who certainly made an impact after being traded to the Niners from the Kansas City Chiefs last year. Yet Ford was also hindered by multiple injuries over the course of 2019, which ultimately limited him to just 11 games and 6.5 sacks.
Ford’s knee could be a problem heading into 2020, too, and one has to wonder if the 49ers could at least consider moving on from the 29 year old. Doing so in 2021 would save $12.8 million against that increased cap with $4.8 million in dead money.
Joey Bosa would cost substantially more, yes. But moving Ford would clear up roughly two-thirds the annual cost of signing Bosa.
Bosa would be younger, too, and his on-field production has been far more consistent. Ford reached double-digit sacks just twice in his six-year career (2016 and 2018), whereas Bosa hit this point in all but one of his pro seasons, coming short in an injury-shortened 2018 campaign where he recorded 5.5 sacks in seven games.
San Francisco wouldn’t be getting a cheaper option by potentially changing out Ford for Bosa, but the defense would get younger.
And with Nick Bosa still playing on his rookie contract, the Niners would have the means to maintain a prolific pass rush while keeping it all in the family.