Nick Bosa's playing status remains in peril with San Francisco's season opener just days away.
Bosa is approaching the final year of his rookie deal and is scheduled to make $17.8 million via a fifth-year option picked up by the 49ers. A three-time Pro Bowler and the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Bosa has outplayed his deal and is reportedly seeking a long-term extension that would make him the highest-paid defensive player in football in excess of $32 million annually.
The two sides are reportedly continuing to work on a deal, but the clock is ticking on getting one done in time for Bosa to suit up against the Steelers. His status is a reality that's starting to set in with the San Francisco locker room.
Fellow All-Pro defender Talanoa Hufanga spoke with reporters about the potential of playing Sunday without Bosa.
— Cam Inman (@CamInman) September 4, 2023
“For us, we've just got to play with who we got,” Hufanga said. “We would love to have Bosa, obviously. I think that’s a no-brainer. Best defensive player in NFL, and it shows.
"For us, we’ve just got to prepare as if he’s not going to be here. Obviously, that’s an upper-echelon question, that’s a front-office question. And so, for me, I don’t know if I can answer anything else on that. But once he’s here, we’d love to have him.”
Bosa's status has hung over San Francisco's preseason as the 49ers enter the regular season on the short list of Super Bowl favorites. He missed all of training camp and the preseason while racking up more than $4 million in fines. The San Jose Mercury News reports that the 49ers are expected to waive those fines once a deal is done. They'd surely prefer to do so with Bosa signed in time for Week 1.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has repeatedly expressed calm about Bosa's continued absence. He said last week that he's "going to do everything I can" to get Bosa on the field against Pittsburgh regardless of his lack of preparation. But he'd like to see Bosa gets some reps in with his teammates first.
“Hopefully, we get a chance to get him into practice next week," Shanahan told reporters. "And if he is, that’ll make it a much easier decision for us."
General manager John Lynch, meanwhile, described the 49ers' communication with Bosa and his representatives as "ongoing," "good" and "healthy." So signs coming out of 49ers camp point to a deal getting done.
But it hasn't happened yet. And Bosa's teammates have a game Sunday with or without him.