The calendar has officially flipped to June, and that means various teams are getting salary cap space added back in. Since the start of the new league year, teams were allowed to apply a June 1 designation to a release. That means a released player’s salary cap hit would be split between 2017 and 2018, but the 2017 cap space would not become available until June 2.
The most notable June 1st release is Tony Romo. He had $19.6 million in dead money, but that will be split over the next two years. In total June 1 transactions, the Cowboys receive $14 million in cap space tomorrow. They entered the day with approximately $5.6 million in cap space, according to the NFLPA public salary cap report.
The 49ers did not designate any players as June 1 cuts. They released Torrey Smith and Antoine Bethea before the opening of the new league year, so they could not be designated as June 1 cuts. And even if they could, the 49ers entered the league year with such significant cap space that a June 1 cut was unnecessary.
What does change now for all 32 teams is what happens when a player is cut. Once June 1 arrives, any cut is officially a “post-June 1” cut. That means if the 49ers release a player moving forward this year, his dead money will be split between 2017 and 2018.
A potential example of this would be Vance McDonald. The 49ers tried trading him earlier this offseason, but they could not get a deal done. I could see the team getting a deal done for a late round pick as training camp arrives, but otherwise, a cut does not seem entirely out of the question. If they had cut him prior to June 1, they would have carried $7.7 million in dead money, and lost $3,534,375 in cap space. If they cut him at any point this year moving forward, they will carry $3.5 million in dead money, and clear $665,625 in cap space. They will then carry $4.2 million in dead money in 2018.
The 49ers have a ton of cap space, so regardless of the designation, roster cuts are not a big concern as far as carrying dead money. The team has over $70 million in cap space, and can afford to take some of these hits. It will be interesting a year from now to see what happens with some of this year’s free agent additions. Not all will hit, but will any be so bad as to be worthy of a release after only one year?