49ers rumors: It's looking more and more like Nick Bosa will be absent vs. Steelers

Just hand Nick Bosa a blank check already.
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

Nick Bosa and the 49ers still haven't reached an agreement for a contract extension, meaning his holdout will likely continue into Week 1 against the Steelers, per the latest rumors and reports.

It wasn't necessarily a bad thing for San Francisco 49ers star edge rusher Nick Bosa to miss training camp because of his holdout amid a contract dispute, one which all but promises to make him the highest-paid defender in NFL history.

And it wasn't exactly horrible for him to miss the preseason either.

Now, however, recent developments have suggested Bosa could potentially miss the Niners' regular-season opener for Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which is notably devastating considering his overall importance to San Francisco's vaunted defense.

Coupled with the 49ers' historically slow offensive starts under head coach Kyle Shanahan, the inability to strike a deal with Bosa is problematic by this point.

Latest NFL rumor from Ian Rapoport says Nick Bosa won't play for 49ers in Week 1

Speaking on NFL Network on Monday (h/t 49ers Webzone), insider Ian Rapoport conflicted some earlier reports and speculation that hinted at Bosa getting awfully close to a new deal, one that'd ensure he would be playing this Sunday.

Rapoport said:

"There is no deal yet for Nick Bosa. ... Until there is a significant breakthrough, I do not expect Nick Bosa on the field for the San Francisco 49ers.

And this really isn't a question of, is he going to be the NFL's highest-paid pass rusher? It sounds to me like they're already there, already past [Steelers edge] T.J. Watt. That's not really what this is about. T.J. Watt, of course, at $28 million on an average per year basis. This is about how close to [Rams DT] Aaron Donald's $31 million and change does he get, or does he get over that?

It is a Monday, today. Tomorrow's Tuesday. And then Wednesday starts the game week. ... And if he is not there Wednesday, obviously, it would not bode well for him being able to participate in this week's game. If there is anyone whose resolve you should never doubt, it is someone with the last name of Bosa. We will see if the 49ers and Bosa, who all want this done, we'll see if they're able to make it happen."

The team could fine Bosa significant amounts, based on the current collective bargaining agreement. But Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters at the beginning of training camp that no fines would take place.

It'll be interesting to see if that narrative changes now that the regular season has arrived.

49ers preparing for no Nick Bosa in Week 1 vs. Steelers

When asked about the possibility of Bosa being absent Week 1, Shanahan told reporters, "You've got to always be prepared to play without not just Nick or anybody."

Edge-rushing depth is generally viewed as one of San Francisco's few defensive weaknesses, and it'll likely be up to second-year pro Drake Jackson and veteran Clelin Ferrell to anchor the first-team pass rush off the outside if Bosa is still absent.

Related story: 49ers insist they have no interest in trading Nick Bosa amid contract dispute

Other players are feeling that is more of a possibility.

"We've just got to prepare as if he's not going to be here," safety Talanoa Hufanga told Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News. "Obviously, that's an upper-echelon question; that's a front-office question. And so, for me, I don't know if I can answer anything else on that, but once he's here, we'd love to have him."

Currently, the 49ers are 2.5-point road favorites over Pittsburgh, but it'd be interesting to see how those odds might change if Bosa was officially extended and cleared to play.

Time for that, however, is running out fast.

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