Today, we continue our assessment of the 49ers 2014 salary cap situation with a look at the inside 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.
We know the 49ers have the best pair of inside linebackers in the NFL, and the 49ers have invested accordingly in the position. Of course, things are a little more complicated this offseason. NaVorro Bowman is in the midst of rehabbing from the ACL tear he suffered in the NFC Championship Game. He could conceivably be back in time for the start of the season, but the odds seem pretty decent that he will miss at least a couple games. I suspect he starts training camp on PUP, just to retain the option of holding him out those first six games and save the roster spot. From there, we'll wait and see.
|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|
For now, the 49ers head into the offseason with four inside linebackers under contract. Michael Wilhoite is the only free agent, but as an "exclusive rights" free agent, he has no real freedom. The only question will be whether the 49ers sign him to a 1-year deal for the veteran's minimum, or they sign him to a multi-year extension.
Once they get Wilhoite signed, the question then is what to make of the depth at the position. At this point, Wilhoite is likely to slot into the starting role opposite Patrick Willis, until Bowman is back. After that, the 49ers are left with Nick Moody and Darius Fleming. Moody came to the team with a reputation primarily suited for special teams. Fleming came to the team as an outside linebacker, and was switched over to inside linebacker last year. He also has dealt with a pair of torn ACLs, creating a steeper curve heading into training camp this season.
Will the 49ers make a move on an inside linebacker in the draft, possibly in free agency? Or do we see them roll the dice with Moody and Fleming serving as the primary backups until Bowman returns? I suppose we could see the return of Blake Costanzo, but he is almost exclusively a special teams player. If they want another linebacker, I'd rather have Moody be that specialist, and then try and find someone else who spends more time playing linebacker. My guess is the team looks at a Day 3 linebacker to compete with Fleming for a roster spot. What do you think?