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Considering defensive linemen 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 | WR | OL

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 defensive line. The 49ers have invested more at this position than anywhere else. They’ve spent a first round pick each of the last three years on the position. Under the current CBA, first round picks are guaranteed almost all of their four-year contracts. Removing signing bonuses from the equation, they owe $19,046,108 in guaranteed base salaries and roster bonuses to Solomon Thomas, DeForest Buckner, and Arik Armstead. Adding in signing bonus proration, they are effectively on the hook for $48,854,017. And that does not include fifth year options for the three players.

It’s safe to say none of those three are going anywhere anytime soon. Earl Mitchell signed a four-year, $16 million deal in free agency. He will likely serve in a rotation role. He’ll be an interior lineman in the team’s base defense, and then come off the field when sub-packages go in. We might see him get some nickel or dime snaps on occasion, but I imagine Armstead, Buckner, and Thomas are the guys who will be getting the bulk of that work.

The 49ers owe Mitchell no guarantees after this year, and would simply be on the hook for $2.25 million in prorated signing bonus money. starting next offseason. The addition of D.J. Jones will be something to watch in that regard. Expectations are low for Jones, but if he can emerge as a run-stuffing DT, he could be the guy who supplants Mitchell sooner rather than later.

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

Solomon Thomas: $28,154,382

$18,615,912 signing bonus, $2.4 million for all four years of base salary, $7,138,470 in training camp roster bonuses.

Full Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $9,538,470
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $14,192,448
Post June 1 Dead Money 2018: $13,961,934

DT DeForest Buckner: $14,883,537

$2,857,453 in signing bonus prorations, $1.89 million in remaining base salaries, $4,421,178 in remaining training camp roster bonuses.

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $6,337,678
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $9,168,631
Post June 1 Dead Money 2018: $5,714,906

DE Arik Armstead: $5,816,098

$1,354,569 in signing bonus prorations, $3,169,960 in remaining base salaries.

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $3,169,960
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $4,461,529
Post June 1 Dead Money 2018: $1,354,589

NT Earl Mitchell: $4,650,000

$3 million signing bonus, $1.65 million base salary in 2017. Additionally, $1.85 million of his 2018 base salary is guaranteed for injury, and fully on April 1, 2018.

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $1,650,000
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $2,400,000
Post June 1 Dead Money 2018: $2,250,000

DT Quinton Dial: $3,820,250

$806,750 in signing bonus prorations, $1.4 million of his 2017 base salary.

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $1,400,000
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $2,206,750
Post June 1 Dead Money 2018: $1,613,500

DE Tank Carradine: $1,625,000

$625,000 in prorated signing bonus, $1 million of his 2017 base salary.

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $1,000,000
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $1,625,000

DE Ronald Blair: $202,806

All signing bonus prorations.

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $0
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $67,602
Post June 1 Dead Money 2018: $135,204

NT D.J. Jones: $147,868

All signing bonus prorations.

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $0
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $36,967
Post June 1 Dead Money 2018: $110,901

DE Pita Taumoepenu: $145,456

All signing bonus prorations.

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $0
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $36,364
Post June 1 Dead Money 2018: $109,092

DT Chris Jones: $50,000

All signing bonus proration.

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $0
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $50,000

DE Aaron Lynch: $49,500

All $49,500 signing bonus proration.

Fully Guaranteed Money Left to be Paid: $0
Post June 1 Dead Money 2017: $49,500

DE Noble Nwachukwu - TBD