Over the last two weeks, we took a look at the San Francisco 49ers various cap hits position-by-position for the 2015 season. This looked at the entire 90-man roster, but did not include existing dead money on the books. I decided to pull those out separately, and post them at the bottom of the article. The 49ers full 2015 cap situation is available here.
The list of dead money tells an interesting tale for any franchise. Dead money is not always a situation of a "bad decision", but it does reflect a situation that did not pan out as expected. In looking at the 49ers dead money situation, we see numerous stories from the last few years.
Ray McDonald is the big number, coming from the team's decision to release him following his involvement in a rape allegation. It was the second notable incident of the year, and the 49ers quickly announced the decision. The team did save a little over $1.8 million in cap room, but they took the big dead money hit in 2015. The team had actually converted $2.645 million in base salary into a prorated bonus on August 30. The problems followed, and the 49ers were left holding the bag on that money.
We know all about Anthony Davis, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis and Chris Borland. They retired for a variety of reasons this offseason, and the 49ers are currently taking hits because of those retirements. However, the team is expected to get recover signing bonus for some of those players. However much they recover will create a credit at some point in the future. Davis and Borland are expected to return their prorated signing bonus money, but there is no word on Smith or Willis.
Going down toward the bottom of the list is interesting because it shows some of the many UDFAs that have made their way through Santa Clara. Kory Faulkner was a guy I thought would be around a little bit longer. Jim Harbaugh met with him during the draft process and brought him in to compete with the quarterbacks. I thought we might see him stick on the practice squad, but it was not to be.
Lawrence Okoye and Shayne Skov are on the 90-man roster heading into training camp, but still show up as dead money. That comes due to their releases last year that resulted in them ending up on the 49ers practice squad. A player must be completely released and become a free agent before he can sign with the practice squad. That means any prorated signing bonus money rolls up as dead money.
This list is not going to be all-inclusive for the 2015 season. Players will be released in training camp. Whether it be notable veterans or a UDFA that got a modest signing bonus, there will be some additions before Week 1 gets going.