Kurtenbach: The 49ers-Nick Bosa contract stalemate is an embarrassment


The 49ers have perviously shown no reluctance in signing top players to record-setting contracts.

Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Fred Warner, and Trent Williams all set the market at their positions when they signed new deals with San Francisco. All but one — I’ll let you guess — deserved it.

The Niners didn’t hesitate on those deals because the front office wanted to build the reputation around the league that it “takes care of its guys.”

But heading into Labor Day weekend — the final weekend before the start of the regular season — the Niners’ top guy still needs a new, record-setting contract.

So much for that reputation.

While, yes, two parties need to agree on a new contract, it is an embarrassment that the entire preseason is over and the Niners have not received Nick Bosa’s signature on a new deal.

This should have been sorted out weeks — if not months — ago.

Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49er's defensive end, speaks to reporters at the locker rooms in Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)
Nick Bosa (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group) 

It’s not like Bosa’s excellence crept up on anyone. His Defensive Player of the Year campaign wasn’t out of character. No, Bosa’s future mega-contract has been a talking point since before the pandemic. Niners knew the NFL’s best defensive player would need to be the highest-paid non-quarterback in the league upon his rookie contract expiring.

So don’t try to pin this drama on Bosa. He is using his only leverage — his presence (or lack thereof) — to extract his fair-market value from the 49ers. He knows the Niners cannot win a Super Bowl without him, and he also knows this will likely be the biggest payday of his career. He’s right to hold out. And if that holdout goes into the regular season, so be it.

And spare me of any claims of greediness. That nonsense only applies to sports where you can’t be permanently disabled — or die — on the field.

What’s the Niners’ excuse for letting this play out?

For the Niners to wait this long is a brutal combination of ignorance and possibly arrogance.

The Niners deserve to be chastised for not understanding who they are dealing with in this contract showdown.

The Bosa family is, in a word, hardcore.

And both Nick and Joey Bosa have a hardcore agent in Brian Ayrault.

Remember: In 2016, Joey held out before ever taking an NFL snap. Even in an era of highly standardized rookie contracts, he wanted a fair deal from the penny-pinching Chargers.

Joey was willing to sit out the entire season and re-enter the draft over offset language in a contract.

You don’t think Nick Bosa will miss regular-season games over a contract worth $30-plus million a year? This man will not play another snap on a discount, and you better believe that threat.

What Bosa and Ayrault want is a lot, but it’s not complicated: More than T.J. Watt, more than Aaron Donald, no funny business.

Yet here we are, a week away from the 49ers flight to Pittsburgh, and its funny business abound.

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 18: San Francisco 49ers' Nick Bosa (97) celebrates his sack against the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
(Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group


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