The San Francisco 49ers head into the 2016 free agency with over $50 million in salary cap space, fifth among all teams this offseason. The front office has had some issues adding talent at certain positions, but when they have added talent, they have done a good job on the contract side of things. They generally have avoided bad contracts.
The Sporting News recently put together a look at the worst contract on each team's roster. I didn't make it through every single one because it's a ridiculous slide show format that is slow to load. However, you can go to the 49ers slide directly if you are so inclined.
They selected Torrey Smith's contract as the worst on the 49ers. A year ago, Smith signed a five year deal worth as much as $40 million. It included $8,750,000 in fully guaranteed money, which covered his $8 million signing bonus, and his first year salary of $750,000. An additional $13.25 million is guaranteed for injury. That number includes his $4.5 million base salary in 2016, $6.5 million base salary in 2017, and $2.25 million of his $6.5 million salary in 2018. Those figures each become fully guaranteed on April 1 of the year in question. His deal included workout bonuses of $750,000 in 2015, and $1 million in each of 2016 through 2019. Finally, he has $500,000 in roster bonuses each season.
Here is what The Sporting News had to say about Smith's contract and why it's the worst on the 49ers:
The speedy Smith had issues with drops and concentration in his walk year, but that did not deter the 49ers from signing him to be their go-to receiver of the future. Things did not work out too well as quarterback problems sunk the 49ers season, leaving an $8 million receiver with just 33 catches for fewer than 700 yards. Smith needs a monster year in 2016 to justify this contract.
Given Smith's production (or lack thereof) in 2015, I am not surprised by his inclusion on this list. Of course, some of that blame can also fall on the offensive play-calling. I don't see him as being the 49ers "go-to receiver of the future", so that is certainly a good reason for inclusion. I think he can be a significantly impactful player, but he still strikes me as at best, a 1a more than a 1.
The 49ers really don't have much in the way of "bad" contracts. Colin Kaepernick's numbers would normally qualify him for the list, but the team's low amount of dead money and ability to get out of the deal each season means it really is not a bad deal in the normal sense. Ahmad Brooks has a cap hit of just over $9.6 million in 2016, but again, the 49ers can get out of the deal and save a sizable chunk of cap space with the move.
The 49ers have a lot of work to do to get the team back on track in 2016, but thankfully the cap situation is not a problem. The team has to improve in some aspects of its talent evaluation, but when it comes to negotiating contracts, they generally are in good shape.