How the 49ers Paid the Best Team in the NFC

With the overnight success of the 49ers, the team did not have to go that deep into their pockets to build a Super Bowl team. San Francisco has built a star team of core pieces and young talent with only a few highly-paid players. With the 49ers preparing for the biggest field in American sports, it’s time to look at how they paid the best team in the NFC.

George Kittle: $809,574

Perhaps one of the best-value contracts in the NFL, the tight end went from a fifth-round pick with little chance of making an impact to a focal point of a Super Bowl team’s offense — in only four years. With free agency looming, George Kittle will reap the benefits of his hard work when he signs a new deal in the offseason. The 49ers will have to decide if they are the ones who will pay him. 

Jimmie Ward: $4.5 million

On a one-year deal and craving a more substantial payday, Jimmie Ward showed he could be as good at safety as he was at cornerback. While the 49ers had a good offense, most agree that their defense got them to the Super Bowl. With so much depth, having cheap options like Ward was a luxury. He will likely require much more in the offseason. 

Nick Bosa: $7.625 million

Nick Bosa has always faced the pressure to perform as the second pick in the NFL draft. Many expected him to be a valuable member of the 49ers’ defense. But nobody thought he’d perform like an immediate superstar.

His pay, while small compared to his talent, is hefty compared to most rookies in similar situations. The 49ers have more time with him before they must open their pocketbooks.

Arik Armstead: $9.046 million

Heading into his first season as an unrestricted free agent, Arik Armstead showed his value in the 49ers defense. He’s forced them to consider whether they’ll want to pay him more. It’s not impossible to see Armstead getting a handsome raise, but with future contracts in the mix, the 49ers may think twice.

Richard Sherman: $13.987 million

When the 49ers got Richard Sherman from the rival Seahawks, many thought they got a shell of the player who used talk trash to their team. Instead, Sherman has not only been a defensive leader on the field but a vocal one in the locker room.

DeForest Buckner: $14.36 million

The 49ers’ line was a core reason for success, and the veteran defensive tackle was a big reason for this. With his ability to make life a nightmare for other teams’ quarterbacks, DeForest Buckner could earn every penny when he faces one of the up-and-coming NFL superstars in the Super Bowl. 

Dee Ford: $15.865 million

Late-season injuries held Dee Ford back from the last part of the 49ers’ schedule. However, with the emergence of several others on the defensive line and Ford’s move to the bench, his weight to the team’s salary may not be entirely earned. A Super Bowl victory and stellar play could help offset this. 

Jimmy Garoppolo: $26.6 million

The 49ers took a gamble when they gave Jimmy Garoppolo a star’s salary after only a partial season of play. Some don’t think he deserves the salary compared to other QBs. But those names will watch the big game from home as Garoppolo throws on the biggest stage in football.

Time will tell how the salary ages. Overpaid or not, Garoppolo has demonstrated that he’s who the 49ers need on offense.

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