49ers salary cap news: Chris Culliver, Bruce Miller earned proven performance escalator

Al Messerschmidt

The 49ers have two players getting modest salary bumps in 2014. We break down what the proven performance escalator means to the 49ers salary cap.

The San Francisco 49ers have plenty to think about this weekend against the Seahawks, but the front office has to also consider long-term issues. The team has plenty of question marks in figuring out their 2014 cap situation, but they're slowly starting to get some answers.

Earlier today, NFL writer Brian McIntyre broke the news that numerous players, including Chris Culliver and Bruce Miller, had earned the proven performance escalator (PPE). This will raise each of their 2014 salaries from $645,000 to $1.389 million.

The NFL and NFLPA agreed to a rookie wage scale that drastically reduced salaries for rookies at the top of the NFL Draft. All picks got four year deals, with first round picks having a fifth year option. Additionally, the proven performance escalator was created for picks in rounds three through seven. In this case, Daniel Kilgore is the only remaining 49ers player from that class who did not earn the escalator.

The CBA dictates what it takes for a player to qualify for the PPE. It states that an eligible player will qualify in his fourth League year if:

(1) he participated in a minimum of 35% of his Club's offensive or defensive plays in any two of his previous three regular seasons; or

(2) he participated in a "cumulative average" of at least 35% of his Club's offensive or defensive plays over his previous three regular seasons. "Cumulative average" means the sum of the total number of offensive or defensive plays in which the player participated over the applicable seasons, divided by the sum of the Club's offensive or defensive plays during the same seasons. (By way of example, if a player participates in 600 of the Club's 1,000 offensive plays in his first season, 290 of the Club's 1,000 plays in his second season, and 310 of the Club's 1,000 plays in his third season for a total of 1,200 plays out of a possible 3,000, the cumulative average would equal 40%).

As far as the salary is concerned, the PPE shall equal the difference between (i) the amount of the Restricted Free Agent Qualifying Offer for a Right of First Refusal Only as set forth in, or as calculated in accordance with, Article 9 for the League Year in such player's fourth season and (ii) the player's year-four Rookie Salary (excluding signing bonus and amounts treated as signing bonus). The resulting amount shall be added to the stated amount of the player's year-four Paragraph 5 Salary.

The low tender is that $1.389 million mark. Culliver and Miller each were scheduled to earn $645,000, with no bonuses figured in to their deals. Culliver's cap figure will be $1,538,719, factoring in his prorated rookie signing bonus. Miller's cap figure will be $1,404,614, factoring in his prorated rookie signing bonus.

Those 2014 cap figures are not final because the 49ers are able to renegotiate 2011 rookie deals now that the season is finished. I imagine we see a new deal for Miller. Culliver is tougher to figure given that he is coming off his injury. Maybe the 49ers lock him in a deal a little under market because of that.

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