The calendar has flipped from May to June, which remains an important day on the NFL calendar. It's not quite as newsworthy as it was in the past, but it is still important from a salary cap perspective.
Back in the day, teams would release some of their high priced veterans on June 1, and every year there were some seriously big names hitting the market. Free agency would start in March, and then we'd have this second major wave of big names signing in June. That has since changed. Now, teams have the ability to designate a player a June 1 release when they release them in March. It allows the player to sign elsewhere early in free agency, rather than in June when rosters are a bit more set. More importantly for the releasing team, it allows them to avoid potential bonuses due if a player is on the roster on a given date after the start of the league year.
The San Francisco 49ers designated Carlos Rogers a June 1 cut. Prior to June 1, he represented a 2014 cap hit of $8,094,531, leaving the 49ers with $1,975,539 in cap space. Starting tomorrow, Rogers will account for $1,494,531 in 2014 dead money, and $1,494,532 in 2015 dead money. That means the 49ers clear out $6.6 million from their current cap space. It's worth noting, the 49ers actually clear closer to $6.1 million for now because a $570,000 player moves into the Top 51 salaries.
The Rogers money is the biggest piece of June 1 news for the 49ers, but it's not the only piece of news. Jonathan Goodwin can officially become a "street free agent" now. Over The Cap does a good job explaining it. Basically, June 1 is the day that unrestricted free agents still not signed can no longer impact the compensatory pick formula.
Using Jonathan Goodwin as an example, the 49ers have until today to extend a tender offer of 110% of Goodwin’s prior year salary cap charge (minus workout and incentive payments). If a player is coming off their rookie contract, the team must extend a tender offer of 100% of the player's prior year's base salary. For Goodwin, I believe that means they would have had to tender him at $3,483,335. It's safe to say that is not going to happen.
If the 49ers were to tender Goodwin, he would have until July 22 to sign with another team, at which point the 49ers would retain exclusive negotiating rights the rest of the season. However, with the 49ers unlikely to tender him, that means they relinquish any rights to Goodwin, making him a "street free agent". Goodwin visited with the Saints back in April. Given his history with them, they make sense as a potential destination. I would not be surprised to see him sign there as training camp approaches.
This means we can start to assess the 49ers compensation pick opportunities next year. We'll go into more detail, but for now, players that count for the formula include:
In: Antoine Bethea
Out: Donte Whitner, Tarell Brown, Anthony Dixon
The 49ers also signed Chris Cook, Josh Johnson, Brandon Lloyd and Chase Thomas, and saw Carlos Rogers, Mario Manningham and Colt McCoy depart. None of them count for the formula due to league minimum deals, being released this year, or in the case of Lloyd, sitting out last year.
As it currently stands, Whitner would likely net a nice comp pick, and Bethea would offset the next salary down. Tarell Brown signed a 1-year deal for $1.4 million with a $2 million bonus, and a $100,000 workout bonus. Anthony Dixon signed a 3-year deal worth $3.5 million, including 2014 compensation of $800,000 in base salary, $50,000 in workout bonus, and $500,000 in signing bonus. Meanwhile, Antoine Bethea signed a 4-year, $21 million contract. His 2014 compensation includes a $1.25 million base salary, $500,000 in roster and workout bonuses, and his $5 million signing bonus.
I bring all that up because I don't know if the comp pick formula looks at just 2014 compensation, or total contract compensation. In this case, Dixon and Brown both ended up with $3.5 million in compensation, but Brown's all comes in 2014, while Dixon's is spread out over three seasons.