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49ers salary cap space 2017: What Colin Kaepernick's situation means for the future

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Time to break down the 2017 salary cap, and what a Colin Kaepernick trade could mean for space. Spoiler alert: there's a lot of space!

The San Francisco 49ers have been working on a trade of quarterback Colin Kaepernick for much of the offseason, but nothing has come of it yet. There is plenty of time to get a deal done, but it is hard to predict what might happen. And so, it is not entirely clear where things stand for 2017 from a salary cap perspective.

The 49ers have over $52 million in cap space for the coming season. They will spend some of that on their 2016 draft picks, and they might sign a player or two. This is also based on the top 51 contracts, so when they are factoring in everything else on the roster, the number will decline further. Whatever is left over, the 49ers will have the option of rolling it over to 2017 next offseason.

With that in mind, I thought I would take a look at the 49ers salary cap space for 2017. Given the uncertainty surrounding Colin Kaepernick, we are looking at this from two perspectives: 1) a trade of Kaepernick, and 2) Kaepernick remaining with the team. I am assuming a salary cap of $166 million in 2017. This does not include any roll over of 2016 cap space since we do not know what that number will be after this season.

Kaepernick traded

If the 49ers do trade Kaepernick, a pre-June 1 trade  would save $8,493,493 in 2016, and $19,365,753 in 2017. The 49ers would have 41 players signed for 2017, with a cap commitment of $87,777,562 in active salaries. With no 2017 dead money for Kap, the 49ers would have $78,222,438 in projected cap space.

If the 49ers trade Kaepernick after June 1, they would have $4,931,507 in dead money from a Kaepernick trade. Again, they would have 41 players signed, with $87,777,562 in cap commitment in active salaries. Their projected cap space would be $73,290,931.

Keep Kaepernick

If the 49ers elect to keep Kaepernick, they would have 42 players signed for 2017, with a cap commitment of $107,150,815 in active contracts. Kaepernick is due $14.5 million in 2017 base salary, $2 million in roster bonuses, and $400,000 in a workout bonus. The 49ers would be looking at $58,849,185 in projected 2017 cap space.

You can also view the 2017 page here.

2017 cap notes

The 49ers still have plenty of 2016 cap space after a fairly quiet free agency period. They entered with $62 million in cap space, and did not put much of a dent into that figure. The team retained several players, including nose tackle Ian Williams and kicker Phil Dawson. They also signed quarterback Thad Lewis and offensive guard Zane Beadles. The latter was the only player to sign a deal for longer than 1 year.

The 49ers are almost certain to pick up Eric Reid's 5th-year option in the next few weeks. The one-year option will be worth approximately $5.6 million. Assuming they pick up the option, the 49ers 2017 cap space would be as follows:

Pre June 1 Kaepernick trade: $72,622,438
Post June 1 Kaepernick trade: $67,690,931
Keep Kaepernick: $53,249,185
(Reminder: this does not include 2016 rollover money)

Next offseason, the 49ers will also be able to begin extending 2014 draft picks. That group includes first round pick Jimmie Ward, second round pick Carlos Hyde, third round picks Marcus Martin and Brandon Thomas, fourth round picks Bruce Ellington and Dontae Johnson, and fifth round picks Aaron Lynch, Keith Reaser, and Kenneth Acker.

As of now, the only draft picks who will be receiving a pay raise via the proven performance escalator, or PPE, are Aaron Lynch, and Marcus Martin. If they play enough snaps in 2016, Dontae Johnson and Kenneth Acker should qualify as well. It is highly unlikely that Bruce Ellington, Brandon Thomas, and Keith Reaser will receive it, barring them playing virtually every snap in 2016.

Second round picks, such as Carlos Hyde, don't qualify for this escalator. It is only for players selected in the third through seventh rounds, and excludes special teams players.

For more on the PPE, check this article out on how Gerald Hodges received a pay raise, via the PPE. For this season, the PPE value is $1.671 million, and it is based on the unadjusted salary cap, which is $155.27 million. The PPE value is also the lowest tender for restricted free agents, like what Michael Wilhoite received this offseason.

We'll wrap up this look at 2017 with a list of the 49ers currently scheduled free agents. The team could extend some of them, and it is possible some of them are released before we reach next offseason. Exclusive rights free agents (ERFA) can essentially be signed for the league minimum, while restricted free agents (RFA) can be tendered at various salary levels.

QB Blaine Gabbert
QB Thad Lewis
QB Dylan Thompson (ERFA)
RB Shaun Draughn
RB DuJuan Harris
RB Kendall Gaskins (ERFA)
WR Quinton Patton
WR Jerome Simpson
TE Vance McDonald
TE Je'Ron Hamm (ERFA)
OG Andrew Tiller (ERFA)
OG Jordan Devey (RFA)
OT Erik Pears
DE Glenn Dorsey
DE Tony Jerod-Eddie
NT Ian Williams
NT Mike Purcell (ERFA)
OLB Tank Carradine
OLB Corey Lemonier
OLB Ray-Ray Armstrong
ILB Gerald Hodges
ILB Michael Wilhoite
ILB Nick Bellore
ILB Shayne Skov (ERFA)
CB Marcus Cromartie (ERFA)
CB Chris Davis (RFA)
FS Eric Reid
SS L.J. McCray II (RFA)
PK Phil Dawson

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.