Nick Bosa continues to hold out, and there might be a concrete reason why he and the 49ers haven't reached a new deal yet.
The San Francisco 49ers could have fined All-Pro edge Nick Bosa tens of thousands of dollars per day he missed training camp because of his holdout. At the same time, he awaits a lucrative contract extension, which will likely turn him into the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history.
With Bosa having been absent from the Niners' first preseason game of 2023, the team could fine him the equivalent of one week's regular-season pay, which is nearly $1 million.
San Francisco won't, though.
General manager John Lynch has kept quiet about the ongoing discussions going on with Bosa's agent, Brian Ayrault, and there hasn't been much news since the beginning of training camp when the reigning Defensive Player of the Year was glaringly absent.
There have been, of course, the occasional rumor and speculation piece like this one here:
Should the 49ers worry? Will there eventually be a stalemate that stretches into the regular season?
It's possible. But it's also likely Bosa isn't continuing to hold out merely to force the Niners' hand.
No, he's waiting for other negotiations to take place first elsewhere across the league.
Nick Bosa wants to see other defensive contract extensions pay out before he signs his new deal with 49ers
The timeline for player extensions across the league varies team by team, but there are a number of star defenders and pass-rushers in Bosa's class who are awaiting new contracts, too.
The Green Bay Packers' Rashan Gary and the Carolina Panthers' Brian Burns, drafted the same round and year as Bosa, are both looking for their second contracts. Playing on their fifth-year options, too, it's likely Bosa is merely waiting for deals to be done with Gary and Burns first before agreeing to whatever San Francisco is offering now.
Carolina has reportedly made an offer to Burns, who wants to be paid like a top edge rusher. So, if that's the case, Bosa is smart to be patient.
Does Bosa want to be the first to sign so that players like Gary and/or Burns have a benchmark?
Nick Bosa contract talks with 49ers get complicated when factoring in salary cap
Bosa doesn't need a training camp or preseason. That's a given.
However, when the games actually count, the 49ers don't want to be worrying about where their best defensive player is at that moment. He'll need to be on the field, and that could be the moment Lynch and Co. cave to whatever the remaining holdups are.
As The Athletic's David Lombardi pointed out to 95.7 The Game, recently, it could be over only a few million in cash. But, with the Niners currently having plenty of top contracts to star players already, affording those few million bucks can get more than a little challenging:
"When [Rams defensive tackle] Aaron Donald signed his contract and broke the market as a defensive tackle $31.7 million – which is nearly $3 million annually where everyone on the defensive line is – when that happened and then Bosa won Defensive Player of the Year, that gave them the right to go and say, "I wanna be paid like Aaron Donald.” I think that couple million, extrapolate that over five years, with the 49ers so up against the cap – they’re way over already in ‘24 – they’re gonna have to make some cuts. They really want to play hardball here and make sure they can keep this roster stable.
Guarantees, incentives and other verbiage in the contract talks could create delays, too, and it's also possible San Francisco is nowhere close to meeting Bosa's demands there either.
Since Lynch isn't giving much information or insight into those talks, it's hard to speculate exactly where the two sides are.
And it might stay that way for a while, too. As Lombardi pointed out, it's possible that Week 1 winds up being the final deadline for both sides to agree to a figure.
Because neither side wants to extend beyond that point.