SANTA CLARA — There’s still no Nick Bosa at 49ers training camp, and yet there’s no panic from coach Kyle Shanahan.
“No, it’s going pretty much exactly how I expected it to go,” Shanahan said Tuesday, before the penultimate practice of a Bosa-less training camp.
If Shanahan had such a strong feeling Bosa’s contract stalemate would drag on this close to the regular-season opener (Sept. 10 in Pittsburgh), then when does he feel a deal will be reached?
“Hopefully sooner than later,” Shanahan said without a hint of anger.
Bosa has been on the reserve list since the opening of camp on July 25, when he did not report. Shanahan said he hasn’t kept in touch with Bosa since then, and the star pass rusher has stayed out of the public eye while presumably training on his own in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he works out in the offseasons.
Bosa did post a picture earlier Tuesday to his Instagram Story from a skyscraper amid New York City, perhaps signaling that business is picking up between his agent, Brian Ayrault, and the 49ers’ brass.
While Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks said Monday he expects Bosa to integrate “fine” once arriving, Shanahan didn’t pinpoint any timeline on when Bosa must report to best prepare for the season.
“Bosa’s first year, he got a high-ankle sprain his first week of (camp) practice, then we didn’t see him until Wednesday (practice of Week 1),” Shanahan said. “It’s different for every player. I have as much confidence in Nick as any player I’ve been around.”
Bosa led the league with a career-high 18 1/2 sacks last season en route to NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors. Rather than play this season on his rookie contract’s fifth-year option at $18 million, Bosa figures to command the wealthiest contract for a non-quarterback in NFL history, and the largest in 49ers’ history.
Drake Jackson, a second-year defensive end, said Bosa has remained engaged in the defensive line’s group-text thread, and that Jackson will occasionally shoot him questions (or funny videos). A year ago, as a rookie, Jackson was able to get in-person tutoring from Bosa.
“At this time, I was working with him after practice every now and then to get extra work,” Jackson said. “It’s like having the answers to the test being with Bosa and him being the dominant player he is. It’s great to have him right by your side to ask him questions.
“He’s a pretty cool dude, pretty mellow.”
While skipping camp may not be a detriment to Bosa’s season, the 49ers’ offensive tackles probably could have benefitted from sparring with him in practices.
“I mean, of course. But I can’t really speak to that. I’m not the money guy,” center Jake Brendel said. “He honestly gives us great work. Going against Nick, he barely ever uses the same move twice in practice. To go against our tackles with a Rolodex of moves, where there’s over 20 he can use at any time, it’s very beneficial for our tackles.”
Shanahan indicated Brock Purdy’s backup could fluctuate from game to game, without actually naming Sam Darnold and Trey Lance as those relievers.
Four years ago, the 49ers kept three quarterbacks on their initial 53-man roster — Jimmy Garoppolo, C.J. Beathard, Nick Mullens — and retaining three also is in play for next Tuesday’s cuts. Meanwhile, Brandon Allen hasn’t taken an 11-on-11 snap since the preseason opener in Las Vegas.
“You keep three when you have three,” Shanahan said. “In the NFL, it’s hard with the 53-man roster; you’d like to keep two (quarterbacks) so you get another position somewhere. I don’t think the new rule will change that.”
Shanahan has yet to inspect an NFL memo that circulated Monday night regarding the new third-quarterback rule, which allows teams to designate an emergency No. 3 quarterback aside from their usual 47-player game-day activations. Triggering that rule was the 49ers’ NFC Championship Game, when they ran out of healthy quarterbacks following injuries to Purdy and Josh Johnson in that 31-7 loss in Philadelphia.
“What happened to us, the one time after 10,000 games, I don’t think it’s going to change your roster because of that,” Shanahan said.
With the Indianapolis Colts allowing Jonathan Taylor to seek a trade, Shanahan can take pleasure in how the 49ers’ move for Christian McCaffrey worked out after his October acquisition, even if it cost four draft picks.
“It feels so good to know what we gave up to get him and knowing that he’s a 49er,” Shanahan said Thursday.
Whereas Taylor is seeking a new contract to upstage his rookie deal, McCaffrey landed his extension from the Panthers (four years, $64 million) in 2020.
“You’re always hesitant because of risks in everything,” Shanahan said. “You know how good a player he is. When you have an opportunity to get a player like that, you look into all of that, not just the player, but how his contract fits into the salary cap, what it means giving up those picks. You don’t worry at all about how good he is.
“There’s also luck to it. He’s got to stay healthy,” Shanahan added. “You look back at it last year, it’s thank God. How could you even hesitate on anything? It’s a no-brainer. But you never know the figure of it.
“But, when you have a chance to get a guy like him the way he looked on tape, we didn’t know him that well. People act like I knew him before, but I more knew his parents.”
Purdy engineered a swift touchdown drive in his final sequence at practice, completing passes to Kyle Juszczyk, Brandon Aiyuk, and Chris Conley before completing a 20-yard strike that Deebo Samuel caught over his shoulder and in stride against Deommodore Lenoir. Purdy was 13-of-23 with no interceptions, although Javon Kinlaw bobbled a potential one.
Lance opened 0-of-3 in a red-zone drill that saw him at least run it in on a draw, then he completed his last four passes, including a touchdown toss to Tay Martin. Darnold was 6-of-9 in full-team drills, with Tre Swilling intercepting a pass intended for Ronnie Bell.
Brandon Allen has not taken an 11-on-11 snap since the preseason opener in Las Vegas. He did, however, zip a nice pass to Isaiah Winstead in 1-on-1 drills Tuesday, which opened with Aiyuk catching a 40-yard gem from Lance against Lenoir’s coverage.
AARON BANKS EXITS
Left guard Aaron Banks gingerly walked away from practice early with a member of the team’s medical staff. Nick Zakelj replaced Banks between Trent Williams and Jake Brendel on the first string
Lenoir threw haymakers and got pulled away from coaches for fighting with running back Jordan Mason, who initially took exception to Fred Warner’s attempt at a forced fumble. Neither Lenoir nor Mason were ejected and both finished with strong practices. Another scuffle broke out between defensive lineman La’Darius Hamilton and offensive tackle Leroy Watson IV, the latter of whom let out a loud laugh after the brief exchange.
ELIJAH MITCHELL RETURNS
Running back Elijah Mitchell “looked awesome,” Shanahan said, in how he returned to practice Monday, after a groin injury kept him out nearly two weeks. Mitchell did not practice Tuesday and is doubtful he plays much if at all in Friday’s preseason finale, as the 49ers want to “ease” Mitchell into the fold behind McCaffrey, who rested Tuesday.
WIDE RECEIVER SWAP
Anthony Miller practiced after signing a one-year deal, replacing fellow wide receiver Dazz Newsome on the roster. Miller played three seasons with the Chicago Bears before spending most of the last two years with the Steelers. Miller’s speed bolsters a 49ers receiving corps that saw deep-threat specialist Danny Gray sustain a shoulder sprain Saturday.
Miller has minimal experience as a returner (five punts, one kickoff) but he’s played in 50 games (140 receptions, 12 touchdowns). Miller’s resume includes two ejections for fighting: in a 2018 game against the 49ers, and in a January 2021 playoff game against the New Orleans Saints.