PITTSBURGH — Nick Bosa will play 30 to 40 snaps against the Steelers this week after signing a hefty contract on Wednesday, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reports.
Glazer noted that the five teams called to trade for Nick Bosa, but the 49ers did not budge. Bosa’s deal will be worth $170 million, with $122.5 million guaranteed money. It will pay him an average annual value of $34 million, making him the highest-paid defensive player and non-quarterback in all football. Bosa’s deal will eclipse the $33.5 million per season that Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald earns as the highest-paid defender. So, Watt had been the highest-paid edge rusher at just over $28 million per year, and Bosa shattered it.
He logged two practices on Thursday and Friday after signing the deal. Last year, he played 745 snaps overall, or an average of around 46 snaps per game. So, that is a decrease from what he usually played a year ago in the 16 games he suited up for overall. While it’s still a substantial amount of snaps, we could be talking about as many as 15 snaps where he is off the field when he otherwise would be on the field. Steelers OLB T.J. Watt did something similar in 2021 and had two sacks against the Buffalo Bills.
“I don’t really know if there’s much lag,” Watt said after practice on Friday. “If anything, it’s fresh legs. It’s a lot of want-to and desire. I mean, this guy hasn’t been able to play football in a long time. So you just want to come back.”
Watt did say that if there’s a potential pitfall to not participating in training camp, it’s the risk of injury, not a lack of effectiveness. The soft tissue injuries that can arise from a lack of football activity are the most concerning part for Bosa.
“It’s just more of, down the road, soft tissue things,” he said. “You need to get back into football shape. As far as Week 1, you can expect a guy like that to be playing his butt off.”
Coming off a Defensive Player of the Year campaign, the concern should not be a performance for Bosa. He is one of the elite talents on the 49ers defense, and the Steelers know that. Posting 18.5 sacks a year ago, Bosa cashed in with a massive contract on Wednesday. But Pittsburgh prepared as Bosa would play. With Javon Hargrave paired with Arik Armstead on the interior, the 49ers want to bring the thunder against Kenny Pickett and the offense.