The San Francisco 49ers were busy this offseason, spending big bucks on running back Jerick McKinnon and center Weston Richburg, and of course, signing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a big contract extension. In spite of that, the 49ers head into the 2018 NFL Draft with the third most salary cap space in the league.
The NFLPA updates their salary cap database multiple times per day, and as of Wednesday, the 49ers have $43,846,316 in cap space. The Cleveland Browns lead the league with $69,698,631 in space, while the Indianapolis Colts are second with $59,666,614. ESPN’s Field Yates posted some numbers as well, and while they’re a bit different, they’re close enough.
The 49ers are carrying a cap figure of $37 million for Jimmy G this season. Richburg is next at $9.26 million, and Pierre Garçon is right behind him at $9.25 million. The current cap figure is based on the team’s top 51 salaries. The team has to be under the salary cap after final roster cuts at which point their 53-man roster, dead money, anybody on injured reserve, and the practice squad all count toward the figure.
The 49ers will have no problem with that, and it opens the door for more spending opportunities in the coming year. The team could get busy again in free agency next offseason, but they will also have some decisions to make about their own free agents. Cornerback Jimmie Ward and safety Jaquiski Tartt are two of their more notable free agents. Defensive lineman Arik Armstead and offensive guard Laken Tomlinson would join that group if the 49ers elect to not pick up their fifth year options. And potential starting guard Jonathan Cooper is also on a one-year deal. Add in outside linebacker Eli Harold, long snapper Kyle Nelson, and kicker Robbie Gould, and the 49ers have some decisions to make.
I would bet good money we see at least one contract extension between now and December. The team will spend money on their draft and UDFA class, and could add another free agent or two, but otherwise, they’ve got some money to spend if they have a good idea of players they’re prepared to bring back.