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Alex Smith trade: How does this impact the 49ers salary cap space?

The 49ers traded a sizable salary when they dealt Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs. We break down the salary cap ramifications.


Wednesday was a busy day for 49ers fans, as the team reportedly dealt QB Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs. The terms are not quite 100%, but as it currently stands, Tim Kawakami and Adam Schefter have reported the deal as being for a 2013 second round pick and a conditional third round pick in 2014. The third round pick could move up to the second round if the Chiefs meet an unknown win total.

While the draft picks are a big deal, the 49ers also get a nice chunk of cap space with the move. Let's take a look at the 49ers current cap situation, and what the Alex Smith trade means for that cap space. Although the 49ers will save quite a bit of cap space with the trade, they will not get access to that cap space until March 12 when the trade becomes official.

The 49ers entered yesterday looking at being over the projected $123 million cap by just $657,000. The 49ers need to get under the cap by March 12, without factoring in the Alex Smith trade. A figure of less than a million dollars is fairly easy to get to over the next two weeks. They could easily re-do one or two contracts, or release a player. Some potential candidates could include Parys Haralson, David Akers, and Jonathan Goodwin. Respectively, these three would save $2.87 million, $3.05 million and $4.35 million if the 49ers decided to release any of them.

Once the 49ers officially complete their trade of Alex Smith, they will save $9.75 million. In getting a deal done before April 1, the 49ers pass along Alex Smith's $7.5 million base salary to the Chiefs. Assuming the deal gets done shortly after the start of the league year, the team also avoids Smith's $1 million roster bonus. That amount is due on March 14 at 1:00 p.m. PT. Additionally, the 49ers would pass along Smith's $1 million in incentives and $250,000 in a workout bonus.

That will do quite a bit for the 49ers, but it won't allow for the 49ers to franchise Dashon Goldson. The 49ers would have to utilize the franchise tag by March 4, which means the financial blow would be reflected at the start of the league year. The 49ers Alex Smith savings will not be reflected at that point.

If the 49ers in fact elect not to franchise Goldson, they could of course use some portion of the $9.75 million to try and extend him. Additionally, there would be some funds to look at Delanie Walker and Ricky Jean Francois. Of course I expect some cuts to happen at some period, but the timeline is unknown at this point.

So here's to a great offseason, and look forward to the 2013 season.