NFL free agency gets going two weeks from now, set for March 9. The San Francisco 49ers have plenty of cap space, but it is still worth considering when they will be faced with various contract guarantees.
The 49ers used rolling guarantees regularly under Trent Baalke and Paraag Marathe. A player might get a sizable injury guarantee on base salary, but a full guarantee for skill and age would not kick in until later in the contract. The most notable example was Colin Kaepernick, who’s $100 million contract featured a lot of money that was guaranteed if he was on the contract on a given point in the future. He might have $10 million in salary for a given year guaranteed for injury, but it would not become fully guaranteed unless he was on the roster the following April 1. His restructuring last fall means we no longer have that to consider, but plenty of other players have them.
Here is a rundown of the pertinent dates that impact player contracts on the 49ers roster.
Opt out clause
Colin Kaepernick: The 49ers QB no longer has guarantees, but there is the question of whether or not he opts out of his deal. His contract includes a 2017 base salary of $14.5 million, with $2 million in per-game roster bonus money, and a $400,000 workout bonus. If he opts out, or if he wants to remain but the 49ers release him, the team will save $16.9 million in cap room. Kaepernick has to make the decision between March 2nd and March 7th.
Current base salary guarantees
The following players already have some sort of guarantee on their 2017 base salary.
Vance McDonald: $2.1 million base salary guaranteed when he was extended in late 2016.
Arik Armstead: $1,329,784 from rookie contract
DeForest Buckner: $540,000 from rookie contract
Joshua Garnett: $872,923 from rookie contract
March 9, 2017
Eric Reid: $5.676 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed. This is the only one that isn’t April 1, because as a 1st round pick under the new CBA, the 5th-year option is guaranteed for injury at exercise after year three, and then fully guaranteed on the first day of the new league year. This year that is March 9.
April 1, 2017
Torrey Smith: $6.5M base salary becomes fully guaranteed; it is guaranteed for injury only right now.
NaVorro Bowman: $2.6 million of his $6.75 million becomes fully guaranteed, but I sense that it’s already guaranteed due to his Achilles injury from this past season.
Quinton Dial: $1.4 million of his $1.5 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed
Tank Carradine: $1 million of his $1.1 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed.
Ray-Ray Armstrong: $875,000 of his $1 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed.
Zane Beadles: $500,000 of his $2.45 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed.
There are a couple other bonuses to be handed out. NaVorro Bowman is due a $2.6 million option bonus, but I don’t know the exact date. DeForest Buckner is due a $736,863 roster bonus that he will receive when training camp begins. Both of these bonuses are already considered guaranteed, and are included in my numbers on the sites cap pages.
The only player I don’t have information on is cornerback K’Waun Williams. The 49ers just signed him to a one-year deal, and those details should emerge in the next week or two. My guess is he has per game roster bonuses, which wouldn’t count against the cap, as he missed last season due to an ankle injury.