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The 49ers salary cap maneuvering in 1994 was entertaining as all get out

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I love reading about the 49ers salary cap shenanigans back in the day.

Earlier this week, I wrote about Carmen Policy comparing the Golden State Warriors signing of Kevin Durant with the San Francisco 49ers signing of Deion Sanders. In doing some research on that, I stumbled across articles from 1994 leading up to the 49ers signing of Sanders. I came across some fun stuff.

This article from September 25, 1994 is a fun one. I forgot that the 49ers signed Sanders two games into the NFL season. He was also playing baseball at the time, and it cost him some playing time in various seasons.

The 49ers signed a whole host of veterans in 1994 after losing to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC title game for a second straight year. They signed Deion Sanders, Gary Plummer, Rickey Jackson, and Ken Norton, loading up a team that was already quite talented.

The salary cap that season was $34.6 million, and the 49ers ability to add a host of players left other owners complaining. Then president Carmen Policy called BS on their complaints.

"We are under surveillance 24 hours a day. The authorities in New York have us watched, they're following us. They probably have our phones tapped," Policy said. "So if we're going to commit a crime, this is not the most ideal circumstance under which to plot and commit it. So, I take a little offense at their suggestions. It's unfair besmirching."

The 49ers did get in trouble for playing around with things later, but their work in 1994 did not result in that. Rather, their free agent additions in 1994 cost them big time because most of the veteran additions hit on a lot, if not all of their various incentives. Policy mentioned that in his chat with Matt Maiocco earlier in the week. The 49ers had to do a ton of restructuring, and that put them on the path to eventually having to blow things up nearly a decade later.

It is amusing to note that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was critical of the 49ers at the time. He thought they were being short-sighted with incentive-laden contracts. It did come back to burn the team, but they also did win a Super Bowl that season, so you could say it was worth it.

It’s a fun article that takes us into the way, way back machine. Give it a read.