49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

May 4, 2010
Niners nail down Willis until 2016

Big news from Santa Clara today. The 49ers announced they have signed inside linebacker Patrick Willis to a five-year contract extension. Willis' original deal went through 2011. The new deal will make him a 49er until 2016. The 49ers and Willis will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. today.

"I am very proud of what Pat has been able to accomplish," Mike Singletary said in a statement. "He is the epitome of what a 49er is all about. Pat has had to overcome a lot in his life and has maintained the ability to stay focused on his goals. Before it is all said and done, he may go down as one of the best to play the position. I am thankful that our organization has realized Pat is one of the core pieces to this puzzle, and I am excited for our community, fans, coaches and players, that we will have Pat here for a very long time."

A number of key players have short-term contracts. Willis' deal was the most important. He has led the league in tackles in two of his first three seasons with the 49ers. And as Singletary said, he has become the face of the new, blue-collar and defense-oriented team. A close second to Willis in terms of importance is tight end Vernon Davis, whose contract expires following the 2010 season.

Key Niners signed through 2010:
TE Vernon Davis
S Dashon Goldson
WR Jason Hill
LB Manny Lawson
QB Alex Smith

Signed through 2011
RB Frank Gore
C Eric Heitmann
WR Josh Morgan
K Joe Nedney
G Chilo Rachal


*********
Due to the 1 p.m. presser, I'll have to postpone today's noon chat to noon tomorrow.

-- Matt Barrows

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MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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