The NFL will announce the official 2019 salary cap next spring, but in the meantime, the league issued a statement on current projections. The 2019 cap is expected to fall somewhere between $187 million and $191.1 million. The 2018 cap was $177.2 million, and the 2017 cap was $167 million.
Over The Cap uses $190 million as their figure for estimating cap space for 2019. Using that number, the San Francisco 49ers are currently projected to have approximately $66.2 million in cap space next year. The Indianapolis Colts currently project to have the most cap space, with $124.4 million. They are followed by the New York Jets ($106.6 million), the Buffalo Bills ($90.8 million), and the Cleveland Browns ($87 million).
There are currently 11 teams projected to have over $50 million in cap space, but roster cuts will shake that up. There are teams facing some question marks in their salary cap management, but teams generally are doing a better job of keeping their cap slim and trim. The imposition of a rookie wage scale has likely helped that, with cheap rookies more likely to replace veterans who might earn more on the pay scale.
The 49ers don’t have much in the way of big name free agents, but they do have some contracts to consider. All three of their primary special teams players are free agents. Kicker Robbie Gould and punter Bradley Pinion probably stand a good chance of returning, while long snapper Kyle Nelson could be a long shot in light of his suspension.
Jimmie Ward is the most notable other player, but the team has decisions to make with Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner. Armstead will enter his fifth year option in 2019, and the 49ers can either ride it out, cut him before the new league year to avoid guaranteeing the money, or work out a contract extension. Buckner is eligible for a contract extension this year, but the team is likely to exercise his fifth year option in the spring and hold off on an extension for now.
The other notable player eligible for a contract extension for the first time is Ronald Blair, a 2016 draft classmate of Buckner. He has looked sharp this year, and I could see him getting a deal done before the start of next season.