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49ers free agents: Considering Vance McDonald and his next NFL contract

Vance McDonald is entering his walk season, and is approaching bust status. We look at some potential scenarios in which he signs a contract extension.

The San Francisco 49ers have just about wrapped up any offseason roster additions, and so we thought it would be fun to take a look at some potential contracts for next offseason. I started with quarterback Blaine Gabbert, and today we move on to tight end Vance McDonald.

We all know that McDonald has been a disappointment for the most part through his first three seasons. He has shown some flashes, but the drops grow more and more frustrating. He is entering the final season of his rookie contract, and the timing is pretty ideal given Chip Kelly’s use of tight ends.

When I looked at Gabbert, I broke it down into what he might get with a decent 2016 season, and what he might get with a breakout 2016 season. We’ll do the same thing with McDonald. The first analysis is what he could get with some modest improvement, while the second analysis is what he could get with more of a breakout season.

Average Season

If McDonald can put together modest improvement, any return would likely be for at or less than what Garrett Celek got with his four-year extension. The 49ers gave Garrett Celek an extension worth $10 million. McDonald and Bruce Miller will be competing with Celek for the top role next month. With a decent improvement, I would expect the 49ers to offer a deal in the three-to-four year range, averaging around $1.2 million to $1.6 million per year.

As always I will be using OverTheCap for contract terms, so click on each link to see their OTC breakdown.

Derek Carrier, Washington

The 49ers actually signed Carrier was to an extension last offseason, giving him a $400,000 signing bonus. The breakdown below does not include that prorated bonus money because it rolled up on the 49ers cap when they decided to trade him to Washington for a 2017 draft pick.

I think this is a good comparison, because obviously it was done by the 49ers front office, and is a textbook 49ers contract. It is team friendly, with per game roster bonuses, and workout bonuses.

Year Base (Gtd) Bonus Cap hit
Roster Workout
2015 $585,000 $0 $0 $585,000
2016 $800,000 $100,000 $25,000 $900,000
2017 $950,000 $100,000 $25,000 $1,075,000

Luke Stocker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Stocker signed a 3-year deal, worth $4.8 million ($1.6M APY), with $500,000 fully guaranteed.

Year Base (Gtd) Bonuses Cap hit
Prorated Roster
2015 $1,000,000
($500,000)
$0 $500,000 $1,500,000
2016 $1,600,000 $0 $0 $1,600,000
2017 $1,700,000 $0 $0 $1,700,000

Brandon Myers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Myers signed a 3-year deal, worth $3.25 million ($1.625M APY), with $500,000 fully guaranteed.

Year Base (Gtd) Bonuses Cap hit
Prorated Other
2014 $2,000,000
($2,000,000)
$166,666 $125,000 $2,291,666
2015 $1,000,000 $166,666 $0 $1,166,666
2016 $1,750,000 $166,668 $0 $1,916,668

Based on the above contracts, I could see the 49ers likely doing what they did for Carrier. I could see a 3-year deal, with around $500,000 fully guaranteed through the signing bonus. It would include per game roster bonuses and offseason workout bonuses for each season.

This is only offered if Vance has a good season. If McDonald does not show improvement and the drops remain a significant issue, the 49ers will let him walk in free agency.

Breakout Season

If McDonald has a breakout season, I would expect the 49ers to top what they gave Garrett Celek. We’re not talking about Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham level dollars, or even necessarily Delanie Walker or Dennis Pitta dollars. Anything is possible, but we’re going to keep things a little more realistic considering his first three years have not produced much.

James Hanna, Dallas Cowboys

Hanna signed a 3-year deal, worth $8.25 million ($2.75M APY), with $2.25 million fully guaranteed.

Year Base (Gtd) Bonuses Cap hit
Prorated Roster
2016 $1,000,000 $750,000 $0 $1,750,000
2017 $2,250,000 $750,000 $0 $3,000,000
2018 $2,750,000 $750,000 $0 $3,500,000

Virgil Green, Denver Broncos

Green signed a 3-year deal, worth $8.4 million ($2.8M APY), with $2.5 million fully guaranteed.

Year Base (Gtd) Bonuses Cap hit
Prorated Roster
2015 $1,000,000
($1,700,000)
$500,000 $700,000 $2,200,000
2016 $2,400,000
($1,000,000)
$500,000 $0 $2,900,000
2017 $2,800,000 $500,000 $0 $3,300,000

Lee Smith, Oakland Raiders

Smith signed a 3-year deal, worth $9.1 million ($3,033,333 APY), with $3.1 million fully guaranteed.

Year Base (Gtd) Bonuses Cap hit
Prorated Roster Workout
2015 $1,500,000 $0 $1,600,000 $250,000 $3,350,000
2016 $2,500,000 $0 $0 $250,000 $2,750,000
2017 $2,750,000 $0 $0 $250,000 $3,000,000

As with the average season, I would expect the 49ers to push for workout bonuses, and per game roster bonuses. Also, I would expect in the $2.5 to $3 million a year range. Guarantees would likely be in the $2-$3 million range.

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.