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49ers salary cap breakdown: Quarterbacks

The 49ers currently have two quarterbacks on the roster, although only one is of real salary cap significance. We break down what the position looks like against the 49ers salary cap.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers head into the offseason with a variety of questions to answer on their roster. They have between $5 million and $7 million in cap space depending on whether you estimate $126 million and change, or $128 million and change for the salary cap. In the next five weeks, we will likely see a variety of roster moves to clear up cap space. Whether it be re-doing a contract, releasing a player, or signing a player to an extension, cap space will appear.

As we approach free agency, there have been suggestions about cap breakdowns by position. I decided we would go through each position and look at 2014 cap dollars vs. 2013 cap dollars. I don't have breakdowns by position for every team, so there isn't a significant comparison to be made. But we can see how the team's salary cap dollars are spread out across the roster.

Colin Kaepernick is due for a contract extension on his rookie deal, so it makes as much sense as any to start at the quarterback position. The 49ers have benefited throughout the Jim Harbaugh era by having less money invested in the quarterback position than most teams. Even when Alex Smith was in town, his contract during the Harbaugh era was not too bad. Combine that with Colin Kaepernick and Scott Tolzien in those previous two seasons, and there wasn't much money there.

Below you can see a breakdown of the money involved in 2014, and below that, 2013. This is a list of total dollars invested in the position, so I have also included dead money. Earlier in the week, Jason put together a rundown of 2014 dead money. This money is worth considering on its own, but I think it's valuable to include it in the position as well. Players no longer on the roster are in italics.

This will be the first in a series of position salary articles. If you think there is something else to include, let me know. I can potentially add it in to this table, and future tables.


Player Years Cap Figure Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Bonus Workout Bonus Dead Money
Colin Kaepernick 3 $1,630,457 $973,766 $556,691 $0 $100,000 $0
McLeod Bethel-Thompson 2 $570,000 $570,000 $0 $0 $0 $0
B.J. Daniels 1 $34,884 $0 $0 $0 $0 $34,884
TOTAL $2,235,341 $1,543,766 $556,691 $0 $100,000 $34,884


Player Years Cap Figure Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Bonus Workout Bonus Dead Money
Colin Kaepernick 2 $1,397,435 $740,844 $556,591 $0 $100,000 $0
Colt McCoy 3 $1,445,625 $630,000 $0 $815,625 $0 $0
McLeod Bethel-Thompson 1 $227,647 $30,000 $0 $0 $0 $197,647
B.J. Daniels 0 $106,922 $0 $0 $0 $0 $106,922
Josh Johnson 4 $175,000 $0 $0 $0 $0 $175,000
John Skelton 3 $74,118 $0 $0 $0 $0 $74,118
TOTAL $3,426,747 $1,400,844 $556,591 $815,625 $100,000 $553,687

The 49ers rotated third string quarterbacks much of last season, resulting in a bunch of random dead money on the roster. Ideally Jim Harbaugh can settle on a second and possibly third string quarterback without playing musical chairs. That dead money cut into money that could have been used on signing bonuses for extensions, or even just having money to roll over to this year. A half million in dead money is a sizable chunk for a rotation of backup quarterbacks.

Naturally this position is all about what to make of Colin Kaepernick's potential contract extension. Brother Girth put together a great FanPost looking at some of the other big money contracts, and what to really make of them. We hear about these huge contract figures, when in reality they are usually shorter extensions that can be terminated long before the player makes his nine figures of cash. Give it a read.

The 49ers will eventually either have to pay up, or try and find another quarterback in the draft. A Peyton Manning type of free agent does not come around nearly often enough to roll the dice and hope he's around if Kap were to walk after this season.

While they get that sorted out, they will also need to find a viable backup option for Kap. McLeod Bethel-Thompson will compete for a roster spot, but I don't think anybody would be all that comfortable with him as the No. 2. Colt McCoy is a free agent, but it seems highly unlikely that the 49ers bring him back for 2014. Matt Cassel has decided to void his contract and take his chances in free agency. Given that he gave up a little over $3 million, I can't imagine the 49ers backup role will be on his list of options.

Here is a complete list of free agent quarterbacks:

Derek Anderson, Carolina Panthers
Jimmy Clausen, Carolina Panthers
Kellen Clemens, St. Louis Rams
Matt Flynn, Green Bay Packers
Josh Freeman, Minnesota Vikings
David Garrard, New York Jets
Rex Grossman, Washington Redskins
Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars
Shaun Hill, Detroit Lions
Tarvaris Jackson, Seattle Seahawks
Jon Kitna, Dallas Cowboys
Josh McCown, Chicago Bears
Luke McCown, New Orleans Saints
Colt McCoy, San Francisco 49ers
Dan Orlovsky, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Curtis Painter, New York Giants
Jordan Palmer, Chicago Bears
Brady Quinn, St. Louis Rams
Rusty Smith, Tennessee Titans
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
Charlie Whitehurst, San Diego Chargers

Here is a rundown of the top ten quarterbacks in this year's draft, as ranked by CBS Sports:

1. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
2. Blake Borles, UCF
3. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
4. Derek Carr, Fresno State
5. Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois
6. Zach Mettenberger, LSU
7. A.J. McCarron, Alabama
8. Aaron Murray, Georgia
9. David Fales, San Jose State
10. Tajh Boy, Clemson