SF 49ers, Fred Warner finally strike an enormous, long-term deal

San Francisco 49ers middle linebacker Fred Warner plays against the Seattle Seahawks during an NFL football game in Glendale, Ariz., in this Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021.

Jennifer Stewart/Associated Press

On Wednesday, the San Francisco 49ers locked up star linebacker Fred Warner to a long-term deal that make him one of the highest-paid defensive players in the league.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the 24-year-old Warner signed a five-year, $95 million deal that includes $40.5 million in guaranteed money. The ESPN report indicates that Warner is now the “highest-paid off-ball linebacker” in the NFL. That’s true if we treat the contract like he’ll receive all $95 million, which he could perhaps approach given that the new deal ends before he even turns 30. In that scenario, his $19 million per year beats out Bobby Wagner’s previous record of $18 million.

As far as guaranteed money is concerned, it’s a different story. According to Spotrac, which tracks salary data, Warner’s contract is fifth among linebackers if you include edge rushers like Khalil Mack, Von Miller and Chandler Jones, who are due to make $90 million, $70 million and $51 million respectively. Even among off-ball linebackers, Warner isn’t in first, losing the top spot to C.J. Mosley of the New York Jets.


The Warner signing comes just before the Niners begin training camp in six days, followed by summer practice on July 31. Since entering the league in 2018, Warner is seventh in the NFL in tackles (366) and joins Wagner as the only player with 250-plus solo tackles (252) and 15-plus pass breakups (16) during that span. Needless to say, this is money well spent for San Francisco.