Nick Bosa’s playing status remains in jeopardy as the San Francisco season opener is just days away.
The 49ers took to the practice field on Monday to prepare for their Week 1 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They did that without Bosa, who is still waiting for a new contract.
Bosa is approaching the final year of his rookie deal and is expected to earn $17.8 million through a fifth-year option picked up by the 49ers. Bosa, a three-time Pro Bowler and reigning Defensive Player of the Year, has played out his contract and is reportedly seeking a long-term extension that would make him the highest-paid defensive player in football with an annual value of more than $32 million.
The two sides are reportedly continuing to work on a deal, but the clock is ticking to get one done in time for Bosa to take on the Steelers. His status is a reality that is beginning to sink in in the San Francisco locker room.
Fellow All-Pro defenseman Talanoa Hufanga spoke to reporters about the possibilities of playing without Bosa on Sunday.
“For us, we just have to play with who we have,” said Hufanga. “Of course we would very much like to have Bosa. I think that’s a no brainer. Best defensive player in the NFL, and it shows.
“For us, we have to prepare like he’s not going to be here. That’s obviously a top level question, a front office question. And so for me, I don’t know if I can do that.” answer something about that. But once he’s here, we’d like to have him.’
Bosa’s status hangs over San Francisco’s preseason as the 49ers enter the regular season on the shortlist of Super Bowl favorites. He missed all of training camp and preseason, while receiving over $4 million in fines. The San Jose Mercury News reports that the 49ers are expected to waive these fines once a deal is made. They would certainly prefer to do this if Bosa has signed in time for week 1.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has repeatedly expressed his calm over Bosa’s continued absence. He said last week that he will “do everything I can” to get Bosa on the field against Pittsburgh, regardless of his lack of preparation. But he would like to see Bosa get some reps with his teammates first.
“Hopefully we get a chance to put him into practice next week, and if we do, that will make it a much easier decision for us,” Shanahan told reporters.
General manager John Lynch, meanwhile, described the 49ers’ communications with Bosa and its representatives as “ongoing,” “good,” and “healthy.” So signs coming out of the 49ers camp point to a deal being made.
But it hasn’t happened yet. And Bosa’s teammates have a match with or without Bosa on Sunday.