I've been out running around handling some errands before I skip town and I only recently got a chance to check out this nasty bit of news. As has been mentioned in several places on the site, the NFL came down on the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys with a heavy hand earlier today due to salary cap malfeasance.
As far as I can understand it, heading into the uncapped 2010 year, the NFL warned teams not to put together huge front-loaded deals taking advantage of the lack of a cap to avoid later big hits. Teams were apparently warned about this multiple times, and yet some times still decided to ignore the warning. The Redskins and Cowboys were the most prominent and have been punished accordingly. The Redskins have to forfeit $36 million in cap space split over the next two years. The Cowboys have to forfeit $10 million in cap space, which also can be spread over this season and next season.
Where this gets particularly interesting is how that forfeited money will be used. The NFL is not allowed to pocket that money since the CBA requires a specific percentage of revenue goes to player costs. So, the NFL is taking that cap space and dividing it up amongst 28 of the remaining teams. The Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints will not get the money because apparently they may have been cheating as well, but to a lesser extent.
What does this mean? Well, the 49ers and 27 other teams get an additional $1.6 million in cap space. This impacts quite a few teams. The Cowboys and Redskins free agency plans take a big hit this year, while the teams with sizable cap space suddenly have a decent amount more wiggle room to work with starting tomorrow. If the 49ers wanted to try and make a significant run at Mike Wallace, this could make that dream a little more possible. They will need a lot of 2012 cap space for any Wallace offer to prevent the Steelers from matching. And if the 49ers decided they wanted to look in other directions, they have all the more room to do so.