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49ers free agents 2016: Projecting a contract for Anquan Boldin

Anquan Boldin is set to hit free agency after three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. We take a look at a potential contract for Boldin as he gets ready for free agency.

The San Francisco 49ers have a handful of notable free agents set to hit the market in March. In recent years, when they have extended their own players, it has frequently come prior to free agency. That does not bode well for these players, but the market will dictate what will happen. Over the next week, I will be taking a look at four of these unrestricted free agent, giving contract comparisons on what to expect if the 49ers do attempt to retain that player.

We started with a look at nose tackle Ian Williams. Today, we move on to wide receiver Anquan Boldin. The veteran is coming off what was technically a 5-year deal, but really was only for two years due to the final three years voiding after the 2015 season. The "2-year deal" was worth $12 million, with $5.5 million fully guaranteed at signing. This included a $4.545 million signing bonus, and his 2014 base salary, which was the league minimum of $955,000.

Unfortunately for the 49ers, due to the deal being a 5-year deal, the remainder of his signing bonus will count as dead money in 2016. That number is $2.727 million, but has already been factored into my salary cap numbers and cap space.

Here are a few comparisons, which comes via Jason Fitzgerald and Over The Cap. I have linked the player names to their OTC page to see a few more details.OTC.

Dwayne Bowe - Cleveland Browns

Prior to the 2015 season, Bowe signed a 2-year deal, worth $13 million. The deal had $9 million fully guaranteed, including a $3.5 million signing bonus. Bowe's average per year is $6.5 million. Here is the contract breakdown.

Year Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Workout Other Cap #
2015 $2,650,000 $1,750,000 $0 $100,000 $0 $4,500,000
2016 $6,150,000 $1,750,000 $0 $100,000 $0 $8,000,000

Eddie Royal - Chicago Bears

Prior to the 2015 season, Royal signed a 3-year deal, worth $15 million. It included $10 million fully guaranteed at signing, but not signing bonus. The deal averages out to $5 million per year. Here is the contract breakdown.

Year Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Workout Other Cap #
2015 $1,500,000 $0 $4,000,000 $0 $0 $5,500,000
2016 $4,500,000 $0 $0 $0 $0 $4,500,000
2017 $5,000,000 $0 $0 $0 $0 $5,000,000

Emmanuel Sanders - Denver Broncos

Prior to the 2014 season, Sanders signed a 3-year deal, worth $15 million. , with $6 million fully guaranteed, back in the 2014 offseason, with an average per year of $5 million, and the breakdown is below.

Year Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Workout Other Cap #
2014 $2,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $0 $0 $4,000,000
2015 $4,850,000 $1,000,000 $0 $0 $0 $5,850,000
2016 $5,600,000 $1,000,000 $0 $0 $0 $6,600,000

Three years has been a common option, but for Boldin, I wouldn't go three years, and I wouldn't go above the $5 million a year. However, the comps above are more about the signing bonuses involved.

If I were to re-sign Boldin, I would give him a 2-year deal, worth $10 million, with $5 million fully guaranteed at signing. The contract would give Boldin a fully guaranteed 2016 base salary of $1 million. His 2017 base salary would be $4 million, and would include no guarantees. His contract would include a $4 million signing bonus, and game-day roster bonuses worth $500,000 a year.

Based on these numbers, his 2016 cap number would be $3.5 million, while his 2017 cap number would be $6.5 million. Only $2 million of the 2017 cap figure would be guaranteed due to the signing bonus being prorated over two years.

This could very well be Boldin's last NFL contract. The smart move would be to back-load the non-guaranteed money into 2017. If he elected to retire, or was released after the 2016 season, that would leave only $2 million in dead money, with $4.5 million simply disappearing with no salary cap impact.

As always you can follow me on Twitter, @Jay_AB81, or check our salary cap section here, on Niners Nation, which is now officially the exclusive home for my salary cap information.