49ers

What Myles Garrett's reported new contract means for Nick Bosa, 49ers

What Myles Garrett's reported new contract means for Nick Bosa, 49ers

Nick Bosa got off to a tremendous start to his NFL career, and it came as no surprise when he was named the 2019 Defensive Rookie of the Year. Though the award can be viewed as the culmination of one hell of a rookie season, it also points to an extremely bright future for the former No. 2 overall draft pick.

A quick glance at the list of NFL Defensive Rookies of the Year from the past decade suggests that Bosa is just scratching the surface of his dominance. From Von Miller to Luke Kuechly (retired) to Aaron Donald, his older brother Joey and tackling machine Darius Leonard, it's a who's who of the most impactful defensive players in today's game. One phenomenal defensive player not included on that list is Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who likely would have won the award in 2017 had he not missed the first four weeks of the season.

Ever since, Garrett has established himself as possibly the most feared defensive player in the league. He has accumulated 23.5 sacks in 26 games over the last two seasons combined, and figures to terrorize the AFC North for many years to come. That became far more certain Tuesday when NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported that Garrett and the Browns were nearing a historic contract extension, worth $125 million over five years.

Once signed, Garrett would become the highest-paid non-quarterback in the NFL, and would leapfrog Chicago Bears pass-rusher extraordinaire Khalil Mack to become the highest-paid defensive player in annual average salary in NFL history.

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It's definitely a deserved number, though chances are he won't maintain that status as the top AAV salary among defensive players for long. Each year, new deals are struck, eclipsing those of the season before. Jimmy Garoppolo's contract, for instance, once viewed as an albatross no longer ranks among the top 10 salaries at his position.

If there's any one defensive player who should be most excited by Garrett's pending agreement, it's Bosa. He already is among the very best defensive players in the league, and it won't be long until the 49ers lock him up with his own record-setting extension.

Garrett entered the offseason with two years remaining on his rookie contract (counting the fifth-year option), so that can give you an idea of when a Bosa extension might come. Luckily for San Francisco, that's still a couple of offseasons away. His fifth-year option most certainly will be picked up, so based on the timing of Garrett's extension, we can assume Bosa might get his following the 2021 season.

Why is that lucky for San Francisco? Given the certainty of a massive drop in league revenue for the upcoming 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the salary cap is expected to -- at the very best -- remain flat, with a significant drop far more likely. The recent moves by the Chiefs, signing quarterback Patrick Mahomes to a mind-blowing contract extension and reportedly signing defensive tackle Chris Jones to another huge number -- both of which are considerably backloaded -- suggest that Kansas City expects the salary cap to substantially increase in the near future.

[RELATED: Could 49ers' Kinlaw follow Bosa's footsteps, win DROY?]

Assuming he remains healthy, Bosa will get more than Garrett did. Whatever that number is, it would be tremendously tough for the 49ers to fit that into the current salary cap. But a couple years from now, San Francisco very well could have the resources to pay Bosa, as well as a few other key players due for extensions.

The 49ers just missed out on the opportunity to select Garrett in the 2017 NFL Draft. Two years later, they nabbed Bosa, who just might be better and eventually will be paid like it.

How 49ers fans acted toward NFL analyst Adam Rank since 3-13 prediction

How 49ers fans acted toward NFL analyst Adam Rank since 3-13 prediction

It was an idiotic pick, according to himself.

Before the 2019 season began, NFL Network analyst Adam Rank predicted the 49ers would have a 3-13 record. That didn’t happen, of course, as they went 13-3 and found their way to Super Bowl LIV in Miami.

The 49ers fans who got wind of this let Rank have it on social media.

But how have 49ers fans been since then? Maybe not as bad as we thought.

“They’ve been great,” Rank said on the NBC Sports Bay Area’s Balk Talk podcast. “Right off the bat, they’ve been super cool.”

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So why did Rank choose that ghastly record? Jimmy Garoppolo was coming off of an ACL injury, for starters, and the 49ers secondary was coming off a season where they couldn't force takeaways.

“The defensive secondary had no interceptions -- or, I think maybe it was two interceptions, but the cornerbacks had no interceptions for an entire season,” Rank said. “Richard Sherman, you know, had not been playing well, arriving from Seattle … “

Rank also wasn’t sure how 49ers newly-drafted defensive end Nick Bosa would do. He can’t predict the future. He couldn’t anticipate a Defensive Rookie of the Year honor or an 89.8 grade on Pro Football Focus after a nine sack, 47 tackle, 25 QB-hit season.

How was he to know that?

[RELATED: Rank admits he's an 'idiot' for 49ers prediction]

Don’t worry friends, Rank had his reasons. And he has more than made up for it, predicting the 49ers to finish with a 12-4 record in the 2020 season.

He talks about that, and more on the latest episode of Balk Talk. And wait until you hear about the time Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout asked him for fantasy football advice.

Thin on edge rushers, 49ers look to add depth behind Nick Bosa, Dee Ford

Thin on edge rushers, 49ers look to add depth behind Nick Bosa, Dee Ford

The 49ers’ defensive line might be the strength of the team. But they are looking for even more from their outside pass rush.

The 49ers have reported visits planned for veteran edge rushers Ezekiel Ansah and Dion Jordan. Both players entered the NFL as first-round draft picks in 2013 and are being considered to add depth along the 49ers' line.

General manager John Lynch wants to provide some insurance to the outside pass rush.

Nick Bosa and Dee Ford are the 49ers’ top edge rushers. While Arik Armstead plays defensive end in base situation, he is more effective working inside as a nickel pass-rusher.

Ronald Blair, who could be the team’s No. 3 defensive end in passing situations, is working back from a torn ACL. Blair is currently on the active/physically-unable-to-perform list. The 49ers were likely able to re-sign him because the knee injury greatly influenced his market as a free agent.

After Bosa, Ford and Blair, the 49ers do not have a lot of answers.

Kerry Hyder, whom the 49ers signed as a free agent in the offseason, is the only other veteran outside pass rusher on the team. Hyder had eight sacks with the Detroit Lions in 2016 while working with current 49ers’ defensive line coach Kris Kocurek. But in Hyder’s other 26 NFL games, he has just two sacks.

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Kocurek also has a history with Ansah, 31, whom the Lions selected at No. 5 overall in 2013. Ansah had a career-best 14.5 sacks in 2015 and 12 sacks in 2017. But injuries have impacted his career. He registered 2.5 sacks with the Seattle Seahawks in 11 games last season.

Jordan was the No. 3 overall pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2013, but his career was derailed by off-field issues.

Jordan did not play in 2015 and 2016 after a third violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing substance policy. The Dolphins released him in 2017, and he signed with the Seahawks. He was suspended for 10 weeks last season for using Adderall.

In 50 career games, Jordan has 10.5 sacks. He played seven games with the Raiders last season and posted two sacks.

The 49ers last week visited with Damontre Moore, who was among the team’s final cuts last year. The 49ers re-signed Moore after Blair’s injury. But Moore sustained a fractured forearm in his second game with the club.

[RELATED49ers' GM John Lynch clarifies statement of not being an NFL 'lifer']

The 49ers owned the top pass defense in the league last season, and a lot of the team's success can be traced to their pass rush. The 49ers tied for fifth in the NFL with 48 sacks during the regular season.

The pass rush took a hit in the offseason with the decision to trade defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round draft pick. Buckners registered 19.5 sacks over the past two seasons. The 49ers used their first-round draft pick to select Buckner's replacement, South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw.

While Kinlaw is expected to step in and be an immediate force against the run, it might take a while to develop his pass-rush skills. He registered a total of 10 sacks during his final two seasons of college.