NFL Nationespn9 min read
As the NFL season draws to a close and the regular season begins, three of the best players in the league still have financial looms on the horizon.
In pursuit of lucrative contract extensions, San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, Carolina Panthers linebacker Brian Burns and Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones either hold (Bosa, Jones) or hold (Burns).
Every situation is unique, but the three absences loom large as Bossa, Burns and Jones aim to secure deals that would make them among the highest paid players in their position.
ESPN reporters Nick Wagner, David Newton, Adam Tesher and Jeremy Fowler take a look at what’s going on with Bosa, Burns and Jones with Week 1 on us:
Current contract details
Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers: Bosa is entering the final season under his rookie contract after the Niners exercised a fifth-year option on him in 2022. If Bosa were to play this season under that option, he would be paid $17,859,000, all fully guaranteed as long as he reports this week. – trolley
Brian Burns, Carolina Panthers: The 16th pick of the 2019 draft is entering the final year of his rookie deal with the Panthers that will pay him $16 million after the team selected his fifth-year pick in 2022. He currently ranks 12th among rushers; That’s for a player with a career-high 12.5 sacks and a second consecutive selection to the Pro Bowl. –Newton
Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs: Jones is heading into the final season of a four-year, $80 million contract he signed in 2020. The contract now makes him the ninth-highest-paid interior defensive player on average. Jones is set to earn a base salary of $19.5 million this season. He forfeited a $500,000 workout bonus due to missing the Chiefs offseason program. –Tisher
What do they want in the New Deal?
Bossa: Both sides have kept the details of these negotiations quiet, but it’s reasonable to believe that Bosa aims to become not only the highest-paid player but the highest-paid quarterback in NFL history. Bosa said after last season he didn’t “necessarily” want or expect that, but agent Brian Ayrault had previously negotiated such deals with Nick’s brother Joey Bosa of the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Donald set the standard for the highest average annual value ($31.67 million) and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ TJ Watt has the highest tier for defenders in fully guaranteed money at $80 million. The Bosa deal is likely to bypass one or both of them. – trolley
Burns: He said he wants to be among the highest paid rushers in the NFL. Not higher, however within the above. That currently puts him in the $23 million to $28 million range, but that will change if Bossa surpasses Donald’s $31.67 million per year. The Panthers prefer to keep Burns’ average closer to the $23 million range, but Burns is believed to want closer to the $27 million to $28 million range, which is why the two sides aren’t that close, according to a source familiar with the matter. the situation. It’s hard to imagine the Panthers and Burns coming to terms until Bossa adjusts the market. –Newton
Jones: Negotiating a new deal for the top defensive tackle is difficult because of the strange situation among the existing contracts at the top of the market. There is a gap of more than $7 million per season between the highest-paid tackle ($31.67 million Donald) and the second-highest (Quinn Williams of the New York Jets). If Jones wants to be in Donald’s range and the Chiefs expect the contract to come in slightly higher than Williams’, there could still be a significant gap. –Tisher
How did they end up in this situation?
Bossa: Given the Niners’ track record of getting market-defining deals done before camp with stars like linebacker Fred Warner and tight end George Kittle, there was reason to believe Bosa would get done on a similar timeline. But this deal is more complicated for two reasons: It involves a lot more money, and the Niners face a more difficult situation setting Bosa’s salary cap than they did when they signed Kittle and Warner. San Francisco also favors adding guaranteed base salaries starting in early April, which has been a sticking point in other negotiations, most notably with Kittle. – trolley
Burns: The Panthers declined an offer of two first-round picks (2024 and 2025) for Burns last season before the trade deadline, which was more than they got for the return of Christian McCaffrey (2023 second-, third- and fourth-round picks, 2024 fifth-round pick). That sent a message to Burns and his camp that he was the most valuable player on the team. Burns then had a career-high 12.5 sacks, made his second Pro Bowl, and the team said publicly that he was key to their shift from a 4-3 scheme to a 3-4 scheme. So, from a leverage standpoint, Burns has it all. He participated the entire training camp, believing a deal would be reached, but waiting for Bosa to adjust to the market stalled negotiations. –Newton
Jones: The Chiefs have shown discipline in recent contract negotiations with several star players, reaching a point where they won’t budge any further, and that’s been the case in their talks with Jones. This philosophy has lost them a few players, most notably receiver Tyreek Hill last year. The Chiefs seem surprised that Jones has come this far, and it’s natural to wonder if they would have tried to trade Jones during the offseason, as they did with Hill with one season remaining on his contract last year, if they had known he would do so. Skip at least one game this season. –Tisher
What will each missed match cost?
Bossa: For any game Bosa does not play, he will forfeit a game check of $1,050,529.41. The 49ers could also fine Bosa up to $40,000 for each practice he missed, but general manager John Lynch has already made clear that the team intends to waive all fines, an option available to it since Bosa is on a fifth-year option. – trolley
Burns: In addition to the team’s fines, which have not yet been imposed, Burns will lose about $900,000 per game if he does not play. It’s hard to imagine it will come to this. Burns participated in all of training camp and didn’t start his detention until last week. He’s involved in team meetings, so the next few days will be crucial. – Newton
Jones: With his base salary of $19.5 million, each game check for Jones is worth about $1.15 million. Jones hinted on social media recently that if he and the Chiefs can’t agree on contract terms, he could run until Week 8. A fan told him that would be a high price to pay, to which Jones replied: “I can afford it.” He. She.” – Techer
What does their absence mean to the team?
bossa: The Niners’ hopes of breaking through and winning the Super Bowl will take a major hit if Bosa, arguably the team’s most important player, is out for an extended period. He’s the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and history has shown that the Niners are dominant when he’s playing and much less so when he’s not. Since Bosa entered the league in 2019, San Francisco has gone 43-17 in games played and 5-10 in games not played (including playoffs). – trolley
Burns: Everything. This is not an overestimation. With the exception of Justin Houston, who is 34 years old, the Panthers don’t have a proven high-flyer, which is key in a 3-4 scheme. This could go from a potential top-ten defenseman to the lower half of the league. Losing the team’s best player and captain would also be a locker room disruption. Veteran linebacker Chuck Thompson said it best: “Everybody upstairs knows he better be up there by Wednesday. He’s a big factor on that defense. He’s the guy who really starts it off.” – Newton
Jones: It’s hard to see how the Chiefs can adequately cover the loss of Jones, their leader in sacks, in each of the past five seasons. They ranked second in the league last season with 55 sacks based on the pass-rushing success of Jones, who had a career-high with 15.5. His absence is compounded by the six-match suspension imposed on one of the Chiefs’ best pass-rushers, Charles Omenihu. The Chiefs were concerned enough about their depth at defensive tackle that on lockout day, they traded to the Las Vegas Raiders for Neil Farrell. – Techer
How long can these cases last? This is what Fowler hears
bossa: Bossa wields enormous power, which may increase his patience to hold out for as long as possible. He was the best defensive player in football last year. While he is still under his rookie contract, his fines for missing camp could be waived. It seems pretty clear that he’s aiming for Donald’s record-breaking $31.67 million a year, and if anyone deserves to hit that number now, it’s a bossa. Team 49 knows this, which is why they can try to end this sooner rather than later. But for now, Bossa is content to wait.
Burns: This is tough because Burns has said all along that he plans to play games. He came to the training camp in good faith. But the two sides are still far apart after months of discussions. The nuclear options are to request a trade or decide to miss games, but there is no hard evidence that Burns would go that far. The feeling is that he will play games, based on his previous comments.
Jones: As the Chiefs prepared to be without Jones in the early part of the season, Jones’ conviction will be tested. He has incurred over $2 million in non-waiverable fines and forfeits $1.1 million for every game he misses. And at some point, the negotiating gap between the club and the player – which is believed to be at least a few million a year – could not make up for Jones’ losses, even if he eventually got what he wanted. But he went this far and wholeheartedly believes he is closer to the top of the market than the rest of the tackles, so he might be willing to wait a few more weeks.
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