Today, we continue our assessment of the 49ers 2014 salary cap situation with a look at the outside linebackers. As I mentioned before, I added four more columns to the 2014 assessment. With the continued help of Niner Cap Hell, I've added dead money calculations for pre- and post-June 1 cuts. I've also added cap savings for pre- and post-June 1 cuts, as requested. I removed dead money for previous players as it is low enough that it just serves to muddy things up a little bit.
The outside linebackers consist of two strong starters in Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith, and two solid backups in Dan Skuta and Corey Lemonier. The biggest question at this point is Aldon Smith's long-term future. The 2011 draft pick is entering the final year of his rookie deal. Of course, because he was a first round pick, the 49ers have a team option they can choose to exercise. They have until May 3 to make that decision.
The option would be worth the Transition Tender that applies in the 2014 League Year for players at the same position at which Smith participated in the most plays during his this past season. Considering Aldon Smith's pass rushing skills, this likely will be a reasonable amount of money for the 2015 season. It also would buy them time to figure out a long-term extension. Smith has shown quite a bit in his three years with the 49ers, but there are still the off-the-field question marks. Aldon has gone through rehab, and hopefully has turned his life around. Even if he has turned things around, a long-term deal for a guy who could be the best pass rusher in the NFL is going to cost a few bucks. He is just one of many decisions now and into the near future.
|Player||Cap Figure||Base Salary||Prorated SB||Roster Bonus||Workout Bonus||Dead Money (pre-6/1)||Dead Money (post-6/1)||Cap Savings (pre-6/1)||Cap Savings (post-6/1)|
|Player||Cap Figure||Base Salary||Prorated SB||Roster Bonus||Workout Bonus|
The 49ers were able to get a lot of solid production out of Dan Skuta and Corey Lemonier in 2013. The 49ers signed Skuta as a free agent, and drafted Lemonier in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Both filled in when Aldon was in rehab, and proved they could bring something to the table.
As we head into 2014, I don't see the 49ers investing much in additional help at outside linebacker. Lemonier should be able to get more playing time. He showed incredible raw pass rushing skills last preseason, and made some plays once the season got going. Skuta is not a long-term backup option, so the team could bring in someone to compete for his spot, but I see Skuta finishing out his contract. If Lemonier continues to develop, the 49ers could then decide to invest in a young outside linebacker in 2015. If they keep Smith and Brooks, Lemonier could develop into the primary backup while they develop another young option.
Do you see any changes at OLB heading into 2014?