The San Francisco 49ers announced on Tuesday that Patrick Willis will spend the rest of the season on injured reserve. Willis will undergo surgery on a chronic toe injury, aggravated in Week 6 against the St. Louis Rams. Additionally, the team welcomed Aldon Smith back to practice following his 9-game suspension. With all that in mind, I thought I would take a look at the salary cap money saved due to both of these pieces of news.
Patrick Willis has a roster bonus spread over the course of the season as game day bonuses. The 49ers do this for a lot of their bigger contracts to protect against injuries, which has proven a bit fortuitous this season. Willis has been inactive for 3 games so far, but had to be inactive for 2 games before the 49ers could recoup money from his roster bonus. The 49ers have saved $93,750, and now that he will be out for the remaining 7 games of the regular season, the 49ers will save an additional $328,125. This will bring the total cap room saved to $421,875.
Aldon Smith's suspension allowed the 49ers to save $137,438 per game, or $1,236,942 in total cap room for his base salary. The 49ers also will be able to save money from his pro-rated rookie signing bonus. Smith's signing bonus was prorated over the life of his contract. When a player is suspended, a team is allowed to recoup the prorated portion of the signing bonus covering the suspended games. Smith's bonus prorated to $2,240,273 per season. For the nine-game suspension, the 49ers can recover $1,186,029. I spoke with a source who said that would be given to the team as a credit in 2015.
Some of you saw this graphic over the weekend.
49ers LB Aldon Smith might be first player to not only not be paid during season but to pay to play - $661,000. pic.twitter.com/tFMg1LWOBH— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 9, 2014
ESPN was discussing how Aldon Smith would be effectively paying to play. To clarify these numbers, the net salary was projected based on the various taxes withheld from Smith's weekly game checks. I'd imagine the two sides will work out a specific arrangement for what money will be removed from his weekly checks.
All totaled, the 49ers will have saved $2,751,096 over this year, and next year.
As always you can follow me on twitter @Jay_AB81, and as always check out the 49ers salary cap hub, here on NinersNation.com, which is the exclusive home to all my salary cap information for the 49ers.