49ers prepare for possibility Nick Bosa misses Week 1 vs. Steelers

49ers prepare for possibility Nick Bosa misses Week 1 vs. Steelers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SANTA CLARA — With each day of inactivity, the odds are increasing that one of the NFL’s most impactful players will not be in uniform when the 49ers' regular season opens.

The 49ers and defensive end Nick Bosa have been in a contract impasse for months as both sides are working toward a long-term extension.

Although Bosa has one season and $17.86 million remaining on his contract, he will remain in a holdout until a new deal is completed.

Until then, the 49ers will not have their best team assembled.

“We have great players in here who can go in there and get the job done,” 49ers All-Pro safety Talanoa Hufanga said Monday.

“But a guy like Nick Bosa allows for game-changing plays. We don’t know how many of those game-changing plays we need to make, but hopefully we can fill those in his absence.”

Bosa is coming off a 2022 season in which he led the league with 18.5 sacks and won NFL Defensive Player of the Year. His next contract will be a big one — somewhere in the $30 million-a-season range.

“The biggest thing for me, being an older guy, is understanding the business side of it,” 49ers veteran safety Tashaun Gipson said. “You have to understand that when you have these opportunities, you got to do what’s best for yourself and your family.”

And, in the case of Bosa, 25, he has determined holding out for the best deal possible is a better option than reporting to the team and, perhaps, leaving money on the table.

The 49ers open the 2023 NFL season Sunday at the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Bosa is believed to be in Southern Florida, a 2-hour, 45-minute flight from Pittsburgh.

“He’s the best defensive player in the National Football League — one of the best players in the league," Gipson said. "So having him here is a huge, huge benefit.

“All [other] 31 teams would agree with that. Whenever he shows up, we know he’ll be whoever he is. But right now we’re getting ready for Pittsburgh the best way we can and going from there.”

RELATED: Why Bosa, 49ers must get best deal possible in contract negotiations

The 49ers have a day off on Tuesday before their big practices on Wednesday and Thursday in Santa Clara. After taking part in a lighter practice Friday, the club will fly that afternoon to Pittsburgh.

If a deal is not struck quickly with Bosa, the 49ers figure to start Drake Jackson and Clelin Ferrell at the defensive end positions. Backups Kerry Hyder and Austin Bryant would see playing time as part of the D-line rotation.

“For us, we just have to play with who we got,” Hufanga said. “We’d love to have Bosa. Obviously, that’s a no-brainer. He’s the best defensive player in the NFL. And it shows.

“We have to prepare as if he’s not going to be here.”

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