Fooch's update: From PFT -
Per source, retired 49ers RT Anthony Davis will pay back his unearned signing bonus money. It will be a significant chunk of change.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) June 5, 2015
The sudden news that Anthony Davis is retiring from the NFL raises numerous salary cap question marks. Davis said he is taking "a year or so away from the NFL" to give his brain and body a chance to heal. The 49ers announced that Davis told the team he plans to retire. So maybe Davis returns, maybe not.
I'll be back in a year or so.. I'll be 26 or 27 years old. Im taking this time to allow my Brain and Body time to heal and recoup.— Anthony Davis (@BamDavis_) June 5, 2015
First and foremost, he will remain under contract to the 49ers if he decides to return. His contract will toll during his retirement, which means if he returns in a year, he will remain under his current contract terms. He is currently signed through 2019.
For the short term though, the 49ers will take a sizable cap hit. If they had cut him post June 1, they would save $2,225,000 in cap space, and carry $3,366,670 in dead money. However, that dead money is based on the remainder of his signing bonus money. Given that he is choosing to walk away, the 49ers have the option of re-couping signing bonus money.
Given that Davis is saying he will be back in a year or so, I am not entirely sure what this means for the 49ers and his signing bonus. He would not be the first player to walk away and come back (see Ricky Williams). I am not entirely sure what the plan will be for the 49ers, but my guess is they approach this like he is not coming back. That means they would likely try and get back the prorated signing bonus money. That would likely result in a cap credit for 2016, unless they somehow got that money back fairly quickly this year. I don't know the exact rules for the timing of such a credit.