49ers salary cap: The three worst contracts

Thearon W. Henderson

The 49ers have done a good job at massaging the salary cap, but nobody is perfect. We take a look at their three worst contracts.

Earlier this week, Jason LaCanfora put together a pair of articles looking at the best and worst deals in the NFL. As would be expected, the 49ers strongly populated the best contracts list, and were fairly limited in the worst contracts list.

LaCanfora's worst deals list included 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers. This is not particularly surprising given the money involved. At the same time, given that the 49ers have ways out of the deal, you could make a bit of an argument that it is not so bad in that sense.

Yesterday, we took a look at what I view as the 49ers three best contracts. Today, I thought we'd take a look at what could be viewed as the 49ers three worst contracts.

1. Carlos Rogers, cornerback

While the 49ers have annual outs from their contract with Rogers, it is still a sizable one while he remains with the 49ers. His 2013 cap figure is $7,344,531. He has a base salary of $5.805 million, and a prorated signing bonus of $1,494,531. This remains the same for the rest of Rogers' contract, which runs through 2015.

Rogers got a $1.25 million guarantee at the start of April, so if the 49ers were going to release him, doing so before April 1 would have made sense. Some monster training camp performances elsewhere could give the 49ers reason to part with him. Most would agree Rogers is not a $7 million a year cornerback, but the 49ers seem fine rolling with him for at least one more season at this sizable cap figure.

2. Ahmad Brooks, outside linebacker

Brooks has a cap figure of $5.05 million, with base salary of $3.55 million. That is not a huge number, but it is worth questioning. His salary was de-escalated when he did not reach certain performances benchmarks. However, the 49ers continue to add pass rushing talent. They drafted Darius Fleming and Cam Johnson in 2012, and then Corey Lemonier and Tank Carradine in 2013.

If Lemonier shows positive signs, maybe the 49ers decide to part ways with Brooks to save some cash to sign some of the younger players on the roster. The 49ers are at a point where they can't keep everybody, and will have to start making some tough decisions. Ahmad Brooks could end up as a tough decision sooner rather than later.

3. Donte Whitner, strong safety

The 49ers safety has a 2013 salary cap figure of $4,933,333 and is entering the final year of his contract. Whitner is a solid SS, but he we already know his weakness in coverage. He is a sizable cap number, but given that he is entering his final season, and the relative youth of the other safeties, I think it's safe to say Whitner will finish out his contract with the 49ers.

Honestly I had a hard time with this. Rogers is the clear choice, but Brooks and Whitner both are good players. At the same time, both need to show more this coming season. I considered including Jonathan Goodwin and Parys Haralson, but both restructured their deals this offseason to keep their roster spots a bit more secure.

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