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Considering wide receivers 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 | RB | TE

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.

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 wide receivers. The 49ers have not had sufficient depth at the wide receiver position for some time now. They came close when they initially signed Anquan Boldin, but Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles shortly after. They’ve had moments over the past 15 years, but wide receiver was among the bigger issues in the Trent Baalke era.

This offseason, the new front office invested significantly in the position in free agency, while adding just a sprinkle in the draft. The team signed Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, and Aldrick Robinson, and then extended Jeremy Kerley. In spite of this spending spree, the team is not exactly heavily in debt for the position. Garçon is due $5 million in base salary guarantees, and his $12 million signing bonus will keep him in town for a while.

In reality, the team seemed to make some short-term investments, with a few inexpensive longer plays. The draft was heavy on defense this year, and while there was talent at the wide receiver position, the 49ers were overhauling the defense most of the first two days. If these changes take and the defense takes a noticeable step forward in 2017, I would not be surprised to see wide receiver addressed much earlier in the 2018 NFL draft.

Guys like Kerley, Goodwin, and Robinson will all be able to contribute to moving the offense forward, but they are not long-term answers at this point. Kyle Shanahan can start implementing his offense and getting this team moving forward, but with mostly shorter deals, it puts them in a great spot to figure out their plans for the bigger picture. Garçon is a guy that can lead the unit, and work with younger receivers, and everybody else is effectively in prove-it deals as the team looks to the future.

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

Pierre Garçon: $17,000,000

$12 million signing bonus proration, 2017 base salary of $3.675 million, and $1.325 million of his 2018 base salary.

Full Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $5,000,000
Post June 1 dead money 2017: $7,400,000
Post June 1 dead money 2018: $9,600,000

Marquise Goodwin: $4,450,000

$2.5 million signing bonus proration, 2017 base salary of $1.95 million

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $1,950,000
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $3,200,000
Post June 1 Dead Money 2018: $1,250,000

Jeremy Kerley: $2,800,000

$1.7 million signing bonus proration, $1.1 million of his 2017 base guaranteed at signing. Additionally, $700,000 of his 2018 base salary is guaranteed for injury, and fully guaranteed on April 1, 2018.

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $1,100,000
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $1,666,666
Post June 1 Dead Money 2018: $1,333,334

Aldrick Robinson: $500,000

$300,000 signing bonus proration, $200,000 of his 2017 base salary

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $200,000
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $350,000
Post June 1 Dead Money 2018: $150,000

Trent Taylor: $201,944

All signing bonus prortation

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $0
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $50,486
Post June 1 Dead Money 2018: $151,458

Bruce Ellington: $118,607

All signing bonus proration

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $0
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $118,607

WR Aaron Burbridge: $75,287

All signing bonus proration

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $0
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $25,089
Post June 1 Dead Money 2018: $50,178

WR Rashad Ross - $0

WR DeAndre Smelter - $0

WR DeAndre Carter - $0

WR Kendrick Bourne - TBD

WR Victor Bolden - TBD

WR B.J. Johnson III - TBD