The San Francisco 49ers are still getting over a brutal loss to the Seattle Seahawks, but there is business to deal with moving forward. The 49ers have numerous free agents to figure out in the coming months, as well as contract extensions for some currently contracted players. However, there cap space will be impacted by contractual changes to several existing contracts.
Late last week, we discussed the proven performance escalator, and how it impacted Bruce Miller and Chris Culliver's contracts. Both players are getting raises of $1.389 million for 2014. This also marks the final year of their respective contracts.
Over the last few days, a couple of sources have provided me with some information on escalators, de-escalators and incentives in various players' contracts. These are things that were already in contracts, and have been reached, thus altering the landscape of the 49ers salary cap space.
When you hear the term escalator or de-escalator, that simply means there is some kind of clause in a player's contract that increases or decreases his salary when he reaches (or fails to reach) a certain level of performance.
The 49ers left guard was selected to his second consecutive Pro Bowl this season. He will not play in it due to the broken ankle he reportedly suffered on Sunday. His contract appears to include a $2.359 million escalator. As I understand it, this is based on playing time, and set in the 75 percent to 85 range, offensive wise. There also appears to be Pro Bowl selection boosts. According to one source, Iupati has earned some, or possibly all of this. If so, his salary would go from $1,600,500 to $4,535,500 for 2014.
The 49ers right guard had a strong campaign, and seemed to be hosed out of a Pro Bowl berth. He showed his versatility when he filled in for Joe Staley at left tackle, but he will head into 2014 as the team's right guard. Boone signed a contract extension in 2011, before he had been installed as the starting right guard. Given that he was further down the depth chart, it allowed for a very affordable extension.
Boone received a $1.7 million signing bonus, as well as various workout and roster bonuses. It turns out he also had some incentives and escalators that will boost his 2014 salary. As I understand it, he will be due a raise of $1.05 million in 2014. It would raise his salary from $950,000 to $2 million.
The 49ers outside linebacker put together a strong 2013 season, having the best season of his career. He will have a $500,000 escalator for playing time.
He saw his salary de-escalate last year when he did not reach certain incentives, and it is possible his salary will decrease again. As I understand it, he also could be facing a potential $2.5 million de-escalator. Back when the deal was done, there were reports that if the 2013 de-escalator kicked in, future de-escalators would disappear. That does not necessarily appear to be the case. Brooks is currently due $5.15 million. The $500,000 would boost him up to $5.65 million, but then it could come back down with the de-escalator. We'll keep an eye on this situation.
Everybody was wondering what exactly was going on with the signing of Dan Skuta, but he proved to be a solid special teams player, and valuable backup at outside linebacker. He is signed through 2014, with a salary of $1.3 million. He has a $100,000 escalator for 2014, but I am not certain as of now if he reached the escalator.
The 49ers right tackle signed a five-year contract extension last April. His new deal reportedly included $1.25 million in de-escalators a year, but in reality, like with most contracts, the information is not 100 percent true. It is actually $750,000, and it's tied to 3 requirements: playing time, workout attendance, and a weight clause. I have not been able to confirm any thresholds, so we'll keep an eye on this. His base salary in 2014 is set at $1,845,600. We'll keep an eye out to see if it declines by any of that de-escalator.
It was brutal seeing Bo go down like he did in the NFC Championship Game. He was fighting for what should have been ruled his possession, even as his knee was blown up. He is getting an MRI today, so we'll see what the full extent of the injury is. From a contract perspective, Bo had a $500,000 de-escalator based on attendance at the previous year's workout program. At this point I think we can assume he was in attendance.
I don't believe Bowman will lose this, I am not 100% sure, as I don't have records to who was present at workouts, but I would bet it's not going to happen, especially with the type of player Bowman is. A dedicated warrior on the field, and off the field. Bowman's 2014 base salary is $4 million, and if he does de-escalate, it would go down to $3.5 million.
Next up are what are called LTBEs, or Likely to be Earned incentives. Craig Dahl had this kind of incentive based on playing time. As I understand, the incentives are worth $350,000. If he reached that amount, his 2014 salary cap hit would be $2,233,333. Dahl's incentives are throughout the length of his deal, which is through 2015.
Next is NLTBEs, or Not Likely to be Earned Incentives. The ones most notable are Frank Gore and Carlos Rogers. Gore'sz NLTBE is for $750,000, if he had reached 1,625 yards from scrimmage. He finished the season with 1,269 yards from scrimmage. Rogers' is $750,000 total, with $250,000 for INTs and playoffs, and $500,000 for All-NFL Honors.
The 49ers have several other players with such random incentives. Ray McDonald has $100,000 for Pro Bowl honors, Andy Lee has $25,000 for All-NFL Team, Glenn Dorsey has $500,000 for playing time, Craig Dahl has $400,000 for INTs and playoffs, Dan Skuta has $500,000 for Playing Time/Pro Bowl honors, and C.J. Spillman has $600,000 for playing time.
The playoffs mentioned are likely for playing time. Also remember, the playing time are for the players either offense or defense, so it doesn't include special teams.
As of January 13, 2014, the 49ers will have a projected $10.133 million in cap room for 2014, with an estimated $2,306,810 in 2013 cap room carryover. The 49ers can save money through a variety of moves. If they do not renegotiate Carlos Rogers' deal, the team can save a little over $5.105 million by releasing him. They can also save a little over $1.37 million by releasing Jon Baldwin.
Additionally, look for the 49ers to restructure some contracts. Among others, I suspect they'll speak with Frank Gore, Vernon Davis and Patrick Willis. They could also speak with someone like Ray McDonald. The 49ers face some budget issues this offseason, but they have some room for maneuverability.
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