San Francisco 49ers Make Fred Warner The Highest-Paid Inside Linebacker in NFL History

Fred Warner With 49ers Background

  • The San Francisco 49ers have made Fred Warner the highest-paid inside linebacker in NFL history with a five-year $95M extension deal.
  • Warner earned his first All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections during the 2020 season.
  • San Francisco has the 4th best odds to win Super Bowl LVI and they also have the second shortest odds to win the NFC.

San Francisco 49ers are one of the early favorites in the 2021 NFL season.

Online sports has San Francisco tied with the 4th best odds to win Super Bowl LVI at +1400. The 49ers are also tied with the L.A. Rams for the second shortest odds to win the NFC at +700 and the two teams are also tied with the best odds to win the NFC West at +205.

In order to live up to those lofty expectations, the 49ers had to complete their big offseason business. On Wednesday, the Niners got the last piece of the puzzle on board when they got Fred Warner to agree on a record-setting five-year contract extension worth $95M with a guarantee of $40.5M.

Highest Paid Inside Linebacker in NFL History

Warner’s $19M average annual salary makes him the highest paid off-ball linebacker, surpassing the previous high of $18M held by the Seattle Seahawks’ Bobby Wagner. His $40.5M is also the second-highest guarantee even given to an off-ball linebacker, with only the New York Jets’ C.J. Mosley and his $51M guarantee bigger.

He now joins his teammates tight end George Kittle and left tackle Trent Williams as 49ers players who got record-setting contracts for their respective positions during the past year. Kittle was re-signed by San Francisco before last year’s training camp while Williams agreed to his new deal with the 49ers last March.

The deal comes six days before the 49ers begin training camp and 10 days before they start practice on July 31st. The latter date has always been viewed as the unofficial deal for Warner and the team to complete the deal, which was always expected.

San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan said last may that Warner’s extension was “simply a matter of time” especially after he got named to the All-Pro and Pro Bowl teams. Anyone who disagrees with the lavish contract that Warner got obviously hasn’t seen the 49ers play in the last couple of years.

Officially All-Pro Fred

Warner was the 49ers 3rd round pick of the 2018 NFL Draft out of BYU. He ranks 7th in the NFL in sacks (366) and is one of two players ( the other is Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner) with 250-plus solo tackles (252) and 15-plus pass breakups (16) since 2018.

He has led the 49ers in tackles in each of the previous three seasons and has averaged 122 tackles per year. Warner finished the 2020 season with 125 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, two interceptions while earning his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections.

Warner finished 2020 with the highest Pro Football Focus grade among players in his position. He was also among’s Top 10 coverage defenders, as the only linebacker in the group while posting advanced metrics production that put him ahead of most of the NFL’s top defensive backs in coverage.

No one also shit down expected completions at a higher rate than he did during the 2020 season as Warner finished with a catch rate allowed beyond expectation of 16.5%, the best by any defender since 2017. And don’t forget he recorded 13 quarterback pressures on 93 pass rushes.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.

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