How 49ers could end up with Nick Bosa, Joey Bosa in 2024

Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs / Michael Owens/GettyImages

The 49ers could try trading for Chargers star pass-rusher Joey Bosa this offseason, but there's another possibility that'd be more realistic.

The two brothers, Joey Bosa of the Los Angeles Chargers and Nick Bosa of the San Francisco 49ers, have both expressed a desire to play alongside one another at some point during their NFL careers.

Considering both are among the highest-paid defenders in the league right now, it's not likely to happen anytime soon. Especially with both teams' salary cap situations less than desirable when it comes to taking on a high-priced player.

However, two aspects are true heading into 2024.

First, the Niners need additional pass-rushing help. Edge rushers Chase Young, Clelin Ferrell and Randy Gregory are all pegged for free agency this offseason, while two-year pro Drake Jackson has been a major disappointment thus far in his NFL career.

Second, the Bolts just underwent a regime change after firing (now-Niners assistant) former head coach Brandon Staley and general manager Tom Telesco, replacing the duo with a familiar name to San Francisco fans, head coach Jim Harbaugh, and general manager Joe Hortiz. While LA has a franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert, it's feasible that nearly every other player could be made available.

Or even released to free up cap space.

Would 49ers trade with Chargers for Joey Bosa?

The elder Bosa is potentially on the trade block, especially considering his 2024 cap hit is over $36 million and in light of injury problems over the last two years, which have limited him to 14 regular-season games in that span.

Los Angeles would have to eat $22 million in dead money if Bosa was dealt via trade before June 1, and a trading team like the 49ers would owe the pass-rusher $14.39 million. And the Niners would also have to give up a decent package in return, likely including multiple draft picks, as NBC Sports Bay Area's Jennifer Lee Chan pointed out.

However, this is where San Francisco can exercise patience.

Niner Noise's Nick San Miguel stressed the desire to strengthen the 49ers' defensive line to the max via a trade, and if Joey Bosa stayed healthy, both he and Nick Bosa would be one of the fiercest one-two pass-rushing combinations in recent memory.

But the 49ers don't have to bite here. If the Chargers are shopping Joey Bosa but lack suitors, they may be willing to trade him on a bargain deal, potentially including only a late-round draft pick in exchange. That would, of course, assume that no better deals were heading LA's way. And if Bosa doesn't figure into Los Angeles' long-term plans, it's better to get something in return instead of nothing, especially if the Bolts have to absorb that $22 million anyway.

Could the Niners afford that extra cap hit, though?

49ers may be better inclined to see if Chargers release Joey Bosa

There are ways to absorb that contract for the Chargers' pass-rusher, including restructures and extensions beyond it's current expiration after the 2025 season.

But, if the Bolts simply opt to release Bosa to free up some cap space after not finding a trade partner, that'd be the moment San Francisco could pounce.

It's unclear what Bosa's asking price would be if he suddenly found himself a free agent. Yes, he's still a marquee player at 29 years old, but all those injuries don't help his case much.

More interestingly, though, Bosa might be willing to accept a cheaper one- or even a two-year deal to join forces with his brother while understanding the clear path to the postseason the 49ers have; one that didn't exactly exist for Los Angeles in the AFC West in light of the Kansas City Chiefs' current reign atop that division.

That might be the X-factor here, and it'd certainly be something to watch in the next few weeks as all parties involved may want to see how the proverbial "chips" come to lay.

Read more from Niner Noise