Fred Warner and the 49ers are now locked in with each other until 2026 after the two sides agreed to a contract extension that will earn the 2020 All Pro linebacker $95 million with $40.5 million worth of guarantees, via Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Extending Warner was a no-brainer for the 49ers. The guy is an elite talent, consistent health, a leader in the locker room, and is a high-character guy off the field. This is the type of player that teams have to extend, especially since Warner is a homegrown talent. The 49ers certainly hit the jackpot with Warner regardless of how much of a lucrative deal they signed him to. But it definitely could have been a lot more money.
The 49ers signed Warner at the PERFECT time.
That is because the Colts and Darius Leonard are also looking to reach an agreement on a contract extension. Both Leonard and Warner are top-five linebackers in the league and can easily command being the highest paid at their position. Warner now is after his extension, but that likely will not last for long with Leonard still yet to be extended.
Had the 49ers waited and continued to take their time, because they did take quite some time to work out this deal with Warner compared with George Kittle last year, they would have had to cough up more money. That is not to say a deal would not have gotten done. Had Leonard been signed first, I doubt that would have made things difficult on the 49ers. Maybe it would have taken a bit more time in terms of trying to structure the deal since the money would have been more, but Warner would have been worth it.
Looking at it from the 49ers' perspective, they were able to save some dollars because they took the initiative. Rather than being forced to increase the salary and guarantees, now they can use that extra money on another player in the future or for whatever purpose they may see fit. This actually grants the 49ers a bit more of a competitive advantage since they extended Warner first. Any advantage a team can get, they will gladly take.
At the end of the day, there was no real argument against extending Warner.