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Considering running back guaranteed money and 49ers roster locks

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The 49ers handed out all sorts of contracts this offseason. Time to look at guaranteed money and what it means for each positional depth chart — QB

Earlier this week, following the 49ers three latest roster moves, I asked how many locks the 49ers have on their roster. With a new coaching staff and front office, few players are going to be safe when the time comes for roster cuts in late August. Some players seem like clear locks, while other seem clearly in danger, but nothing is really all that clear given the organizational overhaul.

On Wednesday, we started a series of articles in which we will look at the guaranteed money and dead money related to each player at the various positions. The idea is that players with more guaranteed money or potential dead money hits are less likely to get released under the new management. Wit

With each position, salary cap guru Jason Hurley look at the amount of fully guaranteed money still to be played out, and what dead money hits would look like following a release or trade. It is May 10, but I decided to focus on these exclusively as post-June 1 cuts. Any player cut after June 1 has their dead money split between 2017 and 2018. The 49ers could make some roster moves between now and then, but we’re looking at this based on training camp-related cuts. Also, we don’t know how offset language works for most of these contracts, so we are not factoring that into the assessment.

Today, we move on to the running back position. The 49ers made a slightly unexpected move earlier this week with their decision to release DuJuan Harris. He was not a guy that was going to make or break the position, but having re-signed him in late March, it was a quick move.

The 49ers added some significant depth to the position this offseason. They signed Tim Hightower, who now has the most experience of the bunch. Then, they invested a fourth round pick in Joe Williams, and signed Matt Breida as an undrafted free agent. Kyle Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner have a history of getting all sorts of production out of day two and day three picks.

Carlos Hyde is entering the final year of his rookie contract. There is no indication the team is working on an extension at this point. And that makes sense in particular for a player like Hyde. He is a very talented running back, but he also has an injury history that is concerning. As others have pointed out, Williams’ running style is likely to jive more with what Shanahan likes.

I think Hyde enters the season as the starter, but if he were to get hurt again, Williams and Hightower could very well be the primary pairing. I would not be at all surprised if Williams has taken over as the 49ers starting running back at some point between now and the end of the 2018 season. That’s not to say it is a guarantee Williams turns into the team’s starting running back. Rather, I simply would not be surprised if they found a diamond in the rough.

And all of that is to say, Carlos Hyde is no sure thing to be on the 49ers roster between now and the trade deadline this fall. I don’t think the 49ers would outright cut him at this point, but if they can find a trade partner, a deal would not surprise me. You could say that about the majority of the 49ers roster, but I think it is applicable to Hyde given the context of the running back depth chart.

Here is a rundown of each player’s pertinent salary numbers.

Carlos Hyde: $249,396

All signing bonus proration

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $0
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $249,396

Joe Williams: $629,384

All signing bonus proration

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $0
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $157,346
Post June 1 Dead Money 2018: $472,038

Tim Hightower: $300,000

$150,000 signing bonus, $150,000 of his 2017 base salary

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $150,000
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $300,000

RB Matt Breida: $30,000

$5,000 signing bonus, $25,000 of his 2017 base salary

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $25,000
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $26,666
Post June 1 Dead Money 2018: $3,334

Raheem Mostert - $0

Kapri Bibbs - $0