A week and a half ago, I broke down the 49ers salary cap space and how potential roster moves would impact it. The 49ers had several NFI and PUP list moves to make, and the transactions would involve removing players from the current roster. Naturally, that meant salary cap implications.
Now that the 49ers have released Kyle Williams and Perrish Cox, it seemed like a good time to re-evaluate the current and future situations for the salary cap. There will be at least two more roster moves that will impact the cap. When Michael Crabtree returns, the team will release a player. Additionally, the team has one roster spot open. They will either sign a free agent, or promote from the practice squad. If they promote from the practice squad, the team will likely sign another player to the practice squad.
As of this writing, the 49ers decisions to release Kyle Williams and Perrish Cox saves them a combined amount of $489,941. This brings the 49ers salary cap room to an exact amount of $3,220,012. Barring any major moves, I expect the 49ers to have somewhere between $3.22 million and $3.5 million in carried over cap room for 2014. This factors in a release when Crabtree comes back.
As for 2014, I have the 49ers at $7,326,579 in available cap space. The team essentially saved a least $1.323 million by waiving Cox. The reason I say essentially, is they won't need to tender him an RFA offer. If the 49ers only carry over $3.22 million, they would still have $10.52 million to spend right away with which to start free agency.
The 49ers have several options to make more cap room for next year. The most prominent move, and likely the most discussed after the season is the potential release of starting CB Carlos Rogers. Releasing Rogers would provide savings of over $5.1 million with a pre-June 1 cut. If they did a post-June 1 cut, they would save $6.6 million, but also wouldn't see or be able to use the cap room until June 1, 2014. This also assumes the two parties do not renegotiate his contract in some form or fashion.
The 49ers also could extend a few veterans, allowing them to lower their base salaries and save some cap room with pro-rated signing bonuses. Those players include Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Ray McDonald, and Patrick Willis. Per the CBA, the 49ers can't extend or restructure Willis' deal until late April of 2014. However Gore, Davis and McDonald are allowed to be extended right as the new league year begins. They could do so right before the beginning of free agency, which would allow the 49ers franchise one of their own unrestricted free agents, if necessary.
I expect the 49ers to potentially extend Gore for another 2 seasons through around 2016. And I expect Davis, McDonald, and Willis more towards an additional 3-5 years.
Let us not forget the pending free agents to be, namely Anquan Boldin, Mario Manningham, Tarell Brown, Tramaine Brock and Phil Dawson. Michael Wilhoite will also be a free agent, but as an exclusive rights free agent he would only cost $570,000 on a 1-year tender.
The bigger potential issues are contract extensions for Colin Kaepernick, Michael Crabtree, Mike Iupati and Aldon Smith. The 49ers will also be permitted to sign the other 2011 draft picks, namely Kendall Hunter, Bruce Miller, Daniel Kilgore, and Chris Culliver. They don't have to extend them immediately, so a guy like Chris Culliver might be moved down the priority list given his ACL injury.
At this point, I have no doubt we will be fine, and we will have extra cap room once the key moves are made. I expect the team to do whatever it takes to keep their top players around for as long as possible.