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49ers release safety Antoine Bethea

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The 49ers roster overhaul cleared another $5.75 million in cap space.

The San Francisco 49ers rebuilding process claimed another veteran on Tuesday. The team announced the release of safety Antoine Bethea. The move clears $5.75 million in cap space, and leaves $1.25 million in dead money on the books. Coupled with the release of wide receiver Torrey Smith, and the 49ers should now have just over $100 million in cap space.

John Lynch had this to say about Bethea upon his release:

“Antoine is a true professional in every sense and I have a great deal of respect for the way he has gone about his business throughout his career. We would like to thank him for the positive impact he has had on this team both as a player and as a leader, on and off the field. We wish Antoine, and his family, great success in the future.”

This marks the second major veteran release, and it might not be the last one. The team is clearly overhauling the roster, and given how bad the team has been the past two years, there are a lot of veterans that could be released before free agency starts on Thursday.

Bethea had a very solid first with the 49ers in 2014, but things had gone downhill since. He missed nine games with a torn pectoral muscle in 2015, and while he played all 16 games in 2016, he was not the same safety he was his first season. And now, with the 49ers making a change where the strong safety is even more of an in-the-box option, it makes sense to move on from the veteran.