The 49ers need to extend Fred Warner before the regular season.
Allowing an All Pro player such as Warner play on the final year of his deal is extremely risky and a slight to Warner. While contract negotiations have not begun between Warner and the 49ers, Kyle Shanahan remains confident that an extension will be reached.
“I want to get it done personally,” said Shanahan at his OTA presser on Tuesday. “I kind of feel like I'd say the same about him as I did about [TE George] Kittle when we were talking about it. I just see that kind of as a matter of time. I know he's not going into his free agent year or anything like that, so that's why it's not always on my mind. But Fred's a guy that I plan on being here forever and who has earned that. I'd be surprised if that doesn't start sooner than later.”
This should be reassuring for 49ers fans. Shanahan would not have said this had their been any inclination of a hurdle to lock in Warner to an extension. Shanahan knows how much of an impact player Warner is. Replacing him would be nearly impossible. All Pro linebackers do not grow on trees. It goes without saying that the 49ers have to extend him.
Shanahan mentioned “sooner rather than later” which is what I have been advocating for the 49ers. Signing Warner will become urgent because the Colts are looking to extend their own All Pro linebacker in Darius Leonard. If the Colts ink him first, then the 49ers will have to pay more for Warner had they been first. That isn’t really much of an issue because the 49ers are going to extend Warner regardless. It just benefits them to do it first and save some dollars if they can.
Warner was the heart and soul of the 49ers in 2020. With him leading the charge of the defense, the 49ers will be in good standing going into 2021.