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49ers salary cap and roster: Chuck Jacobs joins Kendall Hunter, Fou Fonoti on injured reserve

The San Francisco 49ers retained wide receiver Chuck Jacobs on their injured reserve list over the weekend. He joins Kendall Hunter and Fou Fonoti. We break down some of the salary cap implications.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers waived/injured Chuck Jacobs over the weekend, and as expected, he went through waivers without being claimed. Jacobs suffered a torn ACL in the 49ers 23-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Jacobs was returning a kick and grabbed hold of the kicker's face mask. The kicker went down and rolled on Jacobs, causing the injury. Jacobs was in pain, but got up and started walking to the locker room. Eventually a trainer convinced him to get on a cart. The initial belief was he had simply hyper-extended his knee, but that was obviously not the case.

Now that Jacobs is on injured reserve, he will spend the rest of the season earning a portion of his base salary. As Matt Maiocco reported, Jacobs has a split contract, and will earn $303,000. He would have earned $420,000 if he made the 53-man roster. Split contracts are often used for late round picks, and injury prone players. While he certainly did not want to get hurt, there is a short term benefit from a financial perspective. Had he eventually been cut and signed to the practice squad, his salary likely would have been around $6,300 per week of the season. The minimum salary for the practice squad is $6,300, but teams can sometimes pay a practice squad player more. Either way, he would not have earned anywhere close to that $303,000.

Jacobs joins Fou Fonoti and Kendall Hunter on IR. Fonoti will also earn $303,000 on a split contract, while Hunter will earn his full $645,000 salary. All three salaries do not count in the "Top 51" salary cap rule, but will count against the 49ers salary cap when they make their final roster cuts. Under the Top 51 rule, the 49ers currently have $9,999,543 in cap space. It is worth noting that does not count Alex Boone's cap hit of just over $2.59 million. $200,000 of that is a workout bonus he forfeited, $2 million is his base salary, and $340,000 of it is his prorated signing bonus, which the 49ers can get back over the course of the preseason and regular season.

The regular season salary cap covers the 53 players on the active roster, but also covers players on injured reserve, and the PUP and NFI lists.  will not count as long as he remains a holdout. Additionally, if/when Aldon Smith is suspended, the team will not have to pay him, and thus his salary for those weeks will not count against the cap.

One note on the NFI list: technically, a team does not have to pay a player on the NFI list. NFI stands for non-football injury, so the idea is that the injury occurred outside the control of the team. If a player gets hurt on the practice field or game field, or in some way connected with team activities, it is the team's responsibility. If a player gets hurt on his own free time (or in college, as is the case with rookies on the NFI list), the team should not have to pay for it.

However, teams will often work out arrangements with the player. For example, the 49ers reportedly paid Aldon Smith his full salary while he was on the NFI list. That is one reason I don't think his 5 games will be counted 1-for-1 in any potential future suspension. Additionally, the 49ers paid Marcus Lattimore, Eric Wright, and Luke Marquardt some portion of their salaries last year while they were on the NFI list. Whatever they do pay the players will count against the cap after final roster cuts.