The San Francisco 49ers have a lot of decisions to make regarding their free agents, and it appears certain they will wait until the offseason. They’ve made it clear they would do that with Jimmy Garoppolo, but the passing of 1 p.m. PT on Saturday makes it all the more certain for remaining players.
Former NFL executive Andrew Brandt tweeted out that 1 p.m. today is the deadline for teams to use 2017 salary cap space for a contract extension. If an extension is signed before 1 p.m. any signing bonus pro-ration would start in 2017. After 1 p.m. any signing bonus on an extension would first reflect on the 2018 salary cap. For example, if a player gets a $5 million signing bonus on a contract signed right now, $1 million of the bonus would count on each of 2017 through 2021. If a player gets that same bonus after 1 p.m. PT, it would count on each of 2018 through 2022.
The 49ers have crazy cap space heading into 2018, so for the purposes of the beginning of a contract extension, it is not a particularly big deal. Where contract extensions are going to get interesting is with the end of the CBA approaching following the 2020 league year.
The current television deals (excluding Thursday Night Football) were signed in 2013, and run through the 2021-2022 season. The next CBA will reflect the current deals, but the negotiation will be interesting as they consider how much deals might change in 2022. for the 49ers, this is most applicable to Jimmy Garoppolo’s hopefully eventual contract extension.
A five-year extension after this season runs through the 2022 season. Any deal is likely to be restructured between now and then, but you do have to at least consider changes in TV money between now and then. There is speculation TV money could go down, but the NFL could find other revenue pools in terms of digital distribution. If you’re Don Yee, are you negotiating thinking there will be a bigger pie in 2022, or a smaller one?
We’re just far enough out that it probably won’t be a big deal for this first extension, but a potentially restructured deal in two or three years could be when that needs to be considered.
In the meantime, once 1 p.m. passes, we are likely waiting until at least February for any notable deals to get done.