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49ers Salary Cap: Optimism Abounds

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As of late, much of the discussion surrounding the 49ers salary cap position has been on the approximately $30 million in expected space this year. The 49ers have approximately $103.7 million allotted towards a cap estimated to be around $121 million. Additionally, they have $12.6 million in credits from 2011 that roll over to 2012. The actual 2012 cap figure will be officially determined in the coming weeks as we approach the start of free agency on March 13.

While the 49ers do have quite a few significant players up for new contracts this offseason, Matt Maiocco made an interesting point in breaking down some of the 49ers salary cap numbers from 2011. The 49ers gave out a lot of contracts last August. Four of them were notable multi-year deals for Ray McDonald, David Akers, Jonathan Goodwin and Donte Whitner. In looking at their salaries, their averages totaled approximately $14.5 million. However, as MM pointed out in his article, the combined first-year cap figure for the four deals was $8.65 million.

Thanks to the power of pro-rated signing bonuses and other ways to massage the salary cap, the 49ers have opportunities to extend quite a few players under that $30 million in cap space. It is worth noting that if they franchise Dashon Goldson and he signs that franchise tender, he will earn approximately $6.2 million in 2012 with that all applying to the 2012 cap, thus reducing the 49ers free money to approximately $24 million.

Aside from Goldson, the 49ers are looking at a laundry list of free agents that includes Alex Smith, Carlos Rogers, Ahmad Brooks, Joshua Morgan, Adam Snyder, and Ted Ginn. I won't begin to project cap numbers for any of these folks because there are so many possible permutations on contracts at this point. Suffice to say, it will take a wee bit more to get multi-year deals done on these contracts as compared to last year's deals. Add in potentially signing a high-priced veteran wide receiver and it will make for some significant work for Paraag Marathe and company.