The San Francisco 49ers surprised some of us this week when they traded veteran linebacker Parys Haralson to the New Orleans Saints. Haralson was one of the longer tenured veterans, but the 49ers made the move to deal him in order to give him a chance at more playing time, and likely create some cap space.
Now, we head into the final preseason game with another long-time veteran potential on the "hot seat", if only because of his contract. Long snapper Brian Jennings, the longest-tenured 49er on the roster has been the best long-snapper in the league, but given how long he has been with the 49ers, his cap figure has climbed to $1.1 million. The 49ers signed rookie Kevin McDermott to a league minimum contract.
We've had multiple discussions about whether or not the team would be prepared to go with a rookie long-snapper for what is not exactly monster cap savings. However, Matt Maiocco brought up a good point
You & I see measly $500K cap savings. 49ers, potentially, see it as seed money for another $2.5M in bonus over 5 yrs for big-time extension.— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) August 29, 2013
Although we're only talking about cap savings this year, in reality that money can be part of a bigger deal that extends over several years. The team can roll the savings over, or they can work out an extension with a Mike Iupati or Tarell Brown. Considering the bigger picture, it starts to make a little more sense.
If Jennings is released, I imagine he would be snapped up in a heart-beat. He would not have to go through waivers due to his vested status, and he likely would have his pick of jobs. That being said....
The onus is on undrafted rookie Kevin McDermott to win the job over 49ers veteran long-snapper Brian Jennings tonight.— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) August 29, 2013
This could be sort of like a prize fight. To win the fight, the challenger best knock out the champ and not have it go to the cards. McDermott has gotten extensive playing time through the first three games. The 49ers coaching staff clearly wants to see him take the bull by the horns. He has performed fine thus far, but is that enough to un-seat the veteran? I wish I knew.