Eric Branch discusses likelihood of Nick Bosa missing start of season

© Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers and Nick Bosa are still working through contract negotiations. Nine days remain before the start of the season, and the major question is now whether Bosa will be available for the start of the season.

It’s a situation that Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch have admitted is uncomfortable, and has gone on longer than they expected.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle joined Murph and Mac on Friday to discuss what he called a “fraught” situation.

Branch believes Bosa holds all the cards, and that could see him miss the start of the season.

“I think it’s potentially not good in that my view is that Nick Bosa has if not all the leverage, quite a bit of the leverage,” Branch said. “And if he has the stomach to sit out games, unless the Niners blink, significantly, he could miss a game or two.”

He expanded on that opinion and pointed out that there’s a gap between the highest-paid defensive tackle and defensive end in the league.

That, Branch thinks, is probably an issue.

“Before training camp started, I pre-wrote a story just thinking this extension was imminent and I just kind of reflexively was writing Bosa became the highest paid defensive player, etc.,” Branch said. “And maybe that’s not the issue, but as this continues to drag on, I do think the issue must be, has to be the fact that Aaron Donald is paid an average annual salary of almost $32 million. He’s a defensive tackle. T.J. Watt is the highest paid edge rusher at $28 million.

“So there’s this $3-4 million gap. And Bosa is making the argument and I tend to agree with Bosa’s argument, he’s 25, he’s in his prime, he’s on a Hall of Fame trajectory. He just was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year, suggesting he might just be the best defensive player and if the Niners are trying to counter with no, no, no, our framework and where we’re working from is T.J. Watt’s salary, I could see maybe that’s why we’re here right now.”

If Bosa were to miss the start of the season, the starting edge pairing for the 49ers would likely be Drake Jackson and Clelin Ferrell, with Arik Armstead and Javon Hargrave between them.

Listen to the full interview above. You can listen to every KNBR interview on our podcast page at or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Catch Murph & Mac weekdays from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. on KNBR 104.5 / 680 and streaming live on


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