On the heels of his finest skilled season, Warner acquired engaged to girlfriend Sydney Hightower on Might 15. But when issues go in line with plan, that will not be the one long-term dedication Warner makes this offseason.
Three years into his profession, Warner is due for a profitable, multiyear contract extension that may make him one of many highest-paid linebackers within the league. It is the ultimate piece of enterprise for a Niners’ offseason that has not lacked for giant strikes.
“Clearly, I wish to be a Niner for all times,” Warner stated. “I do know all that stuff will work itself out in due time. I am simply targeted on being the perfect participant I can for this group. That is why I am right here, working with my guys and we now have enormous aspirations and objectives for this season.”
No deal has been reached but however there’s nonetheless loads of time to get one thing performed earlier than the Niners open coaching camp on July 31. In some ways, Warner’s scenario mirrors that of 49ers tight finish George Kittle final yr when he agreed to a five-year, $75 million deal earlier than pads got here on in coaching camp.
Each Warner and Kittle have been taken within the third spherical or later however shortly outplayed the contracts that go along with these draft positions. Each are thought-about versatile weapons and key leaders San Francisco can construct round.
The Niners made Kittle the best paid tight finish in historical past. Warner may attain the identical standing amongst off-ball linebackers.
“He is an excellent participant,” Mike Tannenbaum, ESPN’s NFL entrance workplace insider, stated. “He’ll be up there. To me, he needs to be on the prime of that market. He needs to be on the very excessive finish of the market.”
What may that appear like? In accordance with Tannenbaum, the ground for such a deal would are available in round $15 million yearly however “upwards from there, for certain.” The comps for Warner aren’t laborious to search out.
Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner, himself an enormous fan of Warner’s work, holds the title because the highest-paid on the place’s historical past by way of annual worth. Wagner signed a three-year, $54 million extension with the Seahawks in 2019.
The closest linebacker to Wagner’s stratosphere is the New York Jets‘ C.J. Mosley, who signed a five-year, $85 million cope with $43 million absolutely assured in 2019. Mosley’s deal set place information for complete worth and ensures. Coincidentally, Mosley will now be tasked with enjoying the Warner position for brand new Jets coach Robert Saleh, who was Warner’s defensive coordinator in San Francisco the previous three years.
After Wagner and Mosley, no different off-ball linebacker has surpassed the $14.5 million annual mark. The argument for Warner to do it’s robust.
In 2020, Warner posted 125 tackles, a sack, a compelled fumble, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions. Professional Soccer Focus rated him the sport’s finest at his place with a grade of 88.6 on his approach to his first Professional Bowl and All-Professional nods in addition to the 2 most prestigious 49ers group awards.
As a result of Warner is just 24 and is understood for his maniacal research habits and athleticism, the Niners consider his finest soccer lies forward.
“He is exceeded each expectation we have had of him when he got here in right here and we had excessive expectations,” basic supervisor John Lynch stated. “Fred’s a particular chief, a particular participant and an enormous a part of the material of this group.”
Warner’s position as a pacesetter is not misplaced on him. Given his scenario and the way a lot he would stand to lose due to a poorly-timed harm, it could be comprehensible if he elected to not take part in any on-field actions till his new deal is signed.
It is a related dilemma to the one Kittle confronted final yr and why there was a form of unofficial deadline to get Kittle signed earlier than the Niners put the pads on for the true begin of coaching camp. Warner would not subscribe to that idea, although, as a substitute selecting to be along with his teammates for organized group actions each step of the best way in pursuit of getting again to Tremendous Bowl standing.
“I may get damage strolling throughout the road,” Warner stated. “You will get damage all forms of methods. But it surely by no means crossed my thoughts to overlook this OTA. I do know it is a massive a part of not solely my progress however the group as a complete getting out right here working collectively, seeing issues, enjoying ball, it simply units up that basis that you simply wish to then work into the season and be firing such as you wish to. So, I by no means hesitated on that one.”
Requested whether or not he is had any discussions with Warner about learn how to deal with his pending contract negotiations, Kittle stated he simply let his teammate know that he can function a sounding board any time Warner wants one.
Kittle acknowledged that his contract scenario was a little bit of a distraction whilst he tried to maintain it from turning into one however he hasn’t seen something completely different from Warner as he waits his flip.
“He is the identical Fred that he has been each single day that I’ve identified him,” Kittle stated. “Fred’s dealing with it nicely and he is simply exhibiting as much as play soccer. So I am comfortable for that.”
Very similar to with Kittle, there is not any set deadline for when a deal must be performed nevertheless it’s honest to say all sides would love it to occur within the close to future. Not solely to verify off yet another massive piece of enterprise however as a result of the worth may go up if it occurs after the Indianapolis Colts work out a brand new with their very own younger star linebacker Darius Leonard.
“I simply see that type of as a matter of time,” Shanahan stated. “Fred’s a man that I plan on being right here without end and who has earned that. I would be stunned if that does not begin prior to later.”