Now that Fred Warner’s future with the 49ers is locked up for the foreseeable future, the star linebacker can focus solely on the game in front of him.
Warner’s record-breaking, five-year extension happened much in the same manner as George Kittle's last summer. They may play on opposite sides of the ball, but one thing they have in common is performing well beyond their NFL draft projections.
Kittle, after signing his own history-making contract prior to the 2020 season, shared how the deal allowed him to play without worry. Knowing that his family would be taken care of, the All-Pro tight end could continue his bruising style of play on the field.
Reaching an agreement with the 49ers prior to training camp also was a relief for Warner. While he previously stated that he would let his agent and the front office solidify the details of his future, the linebacker admitted the unknown weighed on his mind ever so slightly.
“I think I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t some pressure,” Warner said. “I think everyone handled the situation just flawlessly. It was a great experience and it was something that I was hoping would be done before training camp so that I could just focus on the season and being my best self not having to worry about all that stuff.”
Warner quickly became a leader on the defense after being drafted in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. In 2020, his third season as the “quarterback” of the defense, Warner not only was voted to the Pro Bowl but received All-Pro honors.
The BYU product gave credit to the organization for being “first-class” in every aspect including securing his future. Warner’s goal to improve every aspect of his game each day has its foundation in the 49ers' culture.
“It came from when I first stepped foot into the building, the camaraderie, the culture, the people,” Warner said of why he wants to be with the 49ers for as long as possible. “Everyone who believed in me from Day 1, just even giving me the opportunity to be a Niner, and then going forward, the work they put in.”
Warner is beyond excited to move on from a challenging 2020 season, setting his sights on getting the defense back to the dominating form it showed in 2019.
With his contract taken care of, he can’t wait to get started.
“I trusted in my agent and everyone who was involved in the deal so I’m just happy it’s over,” Warner said.