During the 2021 offseason, Watt staged a hold-in, not practicing or appearing in preseason action. On Sept. 9 — the day the NFL season kicked off — sides struck a deal making Watt the highest-paid defensive player in the league. Three days later, Watt took the field and generated two sacks, five QB hits and a forced fumble in the Steelers’ win over the Buffalo Bills.
With that backdrop, it is zero surprise Tomlin is approaching the situation assuming Bosa will not only be in uniform but at full force.
“We expect him to be there. It’s the prudent approach to take, and if he’s gonna be there, we know the type of player that he intends on being,” Tomlin said. “So that’s something to be dealt with.”
Tomlin’s mindset is the only one he can have. It would be all sorts of foolishness to plan for Bosa not to play. Approaching it like a player listed as “questionable” with an injury is the logical stance. If Bosa ultimately doesn’t play, it’s a bonus for Pittsburgh.
From the 49ers’ perspective, things are hazier.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday on The Insiders on NFL+ that the 49ers already offered Bosa more than $30 million per year on a contract, which would best Watt’s $28 million per year as the highest-paid edge rusher.
The question is whether the Niners are willing to top Aaron Donald’s $31.666 million per year, including roster bonuses, to spread out costs over the contract’s life.
It’s a question that threatens to linger over the 49ers until one side blinks.