49ers contract extension candidates: Nick Bosa, Dre Greenlaw among options

When the 49ers hammered out an agreement with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo that consisted of a dramatic pay cut, the club created salary cap space that now can be invested in other areas.

And that means the 49ers could look to the future with a contract extension or two for players they want to keep around for a while.

“I’m not going to tell you who, but we’re talking to a few players,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said.

Lynch said his time and focus in recent weeks have been on the 49ers’ 53-man roster and practice squad.

He leaves the contract negotiating and salary-cap planning to executive vice president of football operations Paraag Marathe and vice president of football operations Brian Hampton.

The 49ers have 29 players scheduled for some form of free agency after this season, so there are plenty of young players for the club to target for extensions.

“We will try to pursue that, see if it makes sense for them, for us,” Lynch said. “We’re always trying to lock up our good players.”

Here’s a look at the most logical players with whom the 49ers could enter into talks toward contract extensions:

DE Nick Bosa

Bosa begins the 2022 season as part of the conversation for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. That’s how good he has looked during training camp.

It seems highly unlikely the 49ers and Bosa will work towards an extension now because he has two seasons remaining on his contract. The 49ers picked up the fifth-year option, which is set to pay him nearly $18 million for the 2023 season.

More than likely, the sides will get together at the end of this season and try to work something out before the start of the training camp in 2023.

And if he plays as well as expected, Bosa’s representation will certainly make the case for him becoming the highest-paid non-quarterback in the NFL.

LB Azeez Al-Shaair

The 49ers signed Al-Shaair as an undrafted rookie in 2019 after his final season at Florida Atlantic ended with a devastating knee injury.

After he played the three seasons on his initial contract, the 49ers presented him this year with a hefty pay raise on a one-year, $3.986 million tender as a restricted free agent. This is another contract year.

Al-Shaair begins started 22 of the 44 games in which he has played for the 49ers over three seasons. But there is little doubt he will be a full-time starter in 2023. It’ll either be with the 49ers or with some other team on a nice free-agent contract.

CB Emmanuel Moseley

The 49ers pinpointed the cornerback position as their big target for free agency, and they got their man in Charvarius Ward with a three-year, $40.5 million contract agreement.

Based on the early days of training camp when both Ward and Moseley were healthy and on the field together, the 49ers’ starting cornerbacks looked to be a strength of the team.

If the 49ers wait until the end of the season to enter into contract talks with Moseley, his value could be too high for them to keep. But if they act now, they might be able to work out a deal that provides security for him while also being a good investment at the right time and right price for the team.

LB Dre Greenlaw

The 49ers have already locked up middle linebacker Fred Warner for the long term. So it seems almost impossible for them to be able to re-sign both Greenlaw and Al-Shaair to multi-year extensions.

They will likely have to choose one or the other.

Greenlaw was a fifth-round draft pick in 2019, and he has played a lot of good football for this team.

His season got off to a strong start last season when he returned an interception for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions. However, he also came out of that game in need of surgery to repair a torn core muscle. He appeared in just three regular season games.

Greenlaw is scheduled for unrestricted free agency at the end of the season.

DE Charles Omenihu

The 49ers acquired Omenihu in a trade last season with the Houston Texans for a sixth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. His versatility and production have shown the team that he can serve as a key player along the defensive line for a while.

Omenihu, 25, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and it should not require a big-money deal to lock him in for another couple of seasons.

The 49ers have shown that they believe they can never have too many defensive linemen, and Omenihu fits in nicely.

Others

— Safety Jimmie Ward’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season. He will miss at least the first four games of the season with a hamstring injury. The club would be best served to evaluate their options when they see how this season turns out.

— Defensive end Samson Ebukam enters the second season after signing a two-year contract a year ago with the 49ers. He has been stuck on 4.5 sacks each of the past three years. If he takes a significant jump in production, he will look to cash in.

— Right tackle Mike McGlinchey is playing on the fifth-year option. The 49ers will have to consider his long-term health prospects when determining how they want to proceed.

— Kicker Robbie Gould has been so consistent for so long. He and the team will face some tough decisions after this season.

—- Center/guard Daniel Brunskill started every game the past two seasons. When he returns from a hamstring injury, he’ll likely find his way back into the starting lineup. He is scheduled for unrestricted free agency in 2023.

— Defensive tackle Kevin Givens will be a restricted free agent, so the club will certainly look to bring him back.

— Wide receiver Jauan Jennings is also scheduled to be a restricted free agent. He can return in 2023 on a reasonable contract.

RELATED: Garoppolo determined the 49ers were the best fit after the weird trade limbo

— Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. After the drama of this offseason, let’s discuss this one at another time.

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