Nick Bosa’s holdout from the San Francisco 49ers this offseason proved worthy, as the 25-year-old eventually locked down the highest non-Quarterback contract in NFL history by all accords.
The Total Value
Bosa secures 5 new years, $170M new money per the extension, equating to a total of $188.9M for the next 6 seasons. The $170M deal is the 10th largest new money value in NFL history (9 QBs ahead of him, 7 QBs behind him).
The Average Annual Value
The extension carries a new money average of $34M per year, the 19th highest AAV in NFL history, and the most for a non-QB by $2.4M (Aaron Donald, $31.6M).
The 6-year total value contract carries a full AAV of $31.4M, while the guaranteed portion of this deal (through 2026), comes in at $30.625M per year - all outstanding, top of the market, numbers.
The Guarantee Structure
Bosa’s deal comes with $88M fully guaranteed at signing, by way of a $50M signing bonus, guaranteed minimum salaries in each of the next 3 seasons, a $15.23M option bonus in 2024, & $18.965M of a 2025 option bonus. The $88M figure represents the highest upfront guarantee for a non-QB in NFL history, surpassing T.J. Watt’s $80M from his 2021 extension in Pittsburgh.
If Bosa is on the roster April 1st, 2024, another $10.5M becomes fully guaranteed (the remaining portion of the 2025 option bonus + the 2025 per game active bonuses).
If Bosa is on the roster April 1st, 2025, another $23,444,421 becomes fully guaranteed (his 2026 salary + $764,421 of 2027 salary).
This gets us to $122,500,000 of upfront or early vesting guarantee - 13th most in NFL history, and #1 all-time among non-Quarterbacks.
The Cash Flow
Thanks to a $50M signing bonus, $51.01M of this $188M contract is paid out in Year 1, 5th most among active contracts, and $8M more than his brother Joey’s first year payout, the previous leader among non-QBs.
Through two seasons, Nick Bosa will secure $67.8M, with $98.5M available through 2025. Only Aaron Donald’s $95M comes close to Bosa here, and every dollar of it will be fully guaranteed by next April.
Annual Cash Allocations
The Cap Flow
The triple bonus structure (signing bonus + 2nd year option bonus + 3rd year option bonus) is the simplest way to keep salary cap figures low in the early portion of a contract. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the combined cap for Nick Bosa over the next three seasons (2023-2025) is $46.1M, an average of $15.3M per year.
From there things begin to escalate, with cap figures of $42M, $52M & $42M to close the deal out. A void year in 2029 currently carries $5.8M of dead cap to account for the 3rd option bonus proration.
San Francisco will leave this contract untouched until 2026, when a slight conversion of the $22.68M base salary to reduce cap could come into play.
Annual Cap Allocations
2029: $5.8M (dead)
It’s bigger, bolder, & and more secure than many expected - but that’s what age (25), recency bias (34 sacks across 2021-2022), winning (23 regular season wins 2021-2022), a cheap QB (Purdy accounts for $2.9M over the next 3 seasons), & leverage can do when they all come together at once.
My only initial push back: Why not front load this more? The Niners have been known for pulling a lot of cash into the early seasons, offering loads of value in Years 3-4-5 for their blockbuster contract. The structure of this deal is about as traditional as it comes for a major extension, and the 49ers currently hold the most cap space in the NFL (north of $30M at the time of this piece). Could they have converted some of the signing bonus into a 2023 roster bonus instead?
With that said, this is the new standard for how a non-quarterback superstar contract should operate, and the next man up for this treatment: Justin Jefferson. The Vikings tried to lock down their WR1 all summer, but failed to do so at the final hour. It’s safe to say the details of Nick Bosa’s contract probably had something to do with that…