49ers salary cap breakdown: Safeties

Christian Petersen

The 49ers have one big question at safety as they head toward free agency and the 2014 NFL Draft. It will tell us a lot about their cap situation at the safety positions.

The NFL Combine wrapped up today, which means it's time to get back to our position-by-position salary cap breakdown. When we last looked at the 49ers salary cap, we took a look at the inside linebackers position. Six days later, we move on to the secondary. Today, we start with the safeties.

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 most notable recent news is that Craig Dahl took a pay cut to stick round for another season. He took a $525,000 decrease in his base salary for 2014, and saw his roster bonus decrease as well. This saves the 49ers $600,000 in cap space, and more importantly, is strictly a pay cut. He gets more guaranteed money, but his 2015 year remains as is. He'll focus on special teams once again, but for just above the league minimum, I can live with it.

2014

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)
Eric Reid $1,927,444 $790,489 $1,136,955 $0 $0 $6,938,799 $4,664,889 -$5,011,355 -$2,737,445
C.J. Spillman $1,558,334 $1,225,000 $308,334 $0 $25,000 $616,669 $308,334 $941,665 $1,250,000
Craig Dahl $1,283,333 $825,000 $233,333 $175,000 $50,000 $831,667 $598,333 $451,666 $685,000
Raymond Ventrone $855,000 $855,000 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $855,000 $855,000
D.J. Campbell $570,000 $570,000 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $570,000 $570,000
TOTAL $6,194,111 $4,265,489 $1,678,622 $175,000 $75,000 $8,387,135 $5,571,556 -$2,193,024 $622,555

2013

Player Cap Figure Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Bonus Workout Bonus
Donte Whitner $4,933,334 $3,850,000 $833334 $0 $250000
Eric Reid $1,541,955 $405,000 $1,136,955 $0 $0
C.J. Spillman $1,558,333 $1,225,000 $308,333 $0 $25,000
Craig Dahl $1,433,333 $900,000 $233,333 $250,000 $50,000
Raymond Ventrone $880,000 $715,000 $0 $165,000 $0
TOTAL $10,346,955 $15,625,978 $5,869,199 $765,000 $475,000

The big question of course is Donte Whitner. He heads into free agency this year, turning 29 later this summer. It is crazy to think, but for a lot of players, that is already starting to get "old" for the league. Some players can age incredibly well in this league, and some players can basically fall off a cliff. Whitner is a smart player, and while he is a big hitter, I don't know that getting a little slower with age is going to really have a big problem for him.

But we don't really know, so the team has to think this through very carefully before making the investment. The projected salary cap is growing by the day, and this seems to have the 49ers more optimistic about bring Whitner back. Of course, agents also know the cap is growing, so many will look to leverage that information for their clients. Who knows what it means for Whitner at this point.

I could see him returning, but it will also depend on how the 49ers view the 2014 draft class. If they really like a couple of safeties, they could just let Whitner walk and get even younger in the secondary. There would be some growing pains, but with the rest of the veteran defense, this could be the best long-term solution. We'll find out more in a couple weeks when free agency opens.

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