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49ers are big spenders on offense, not so much on defense

They rank third in offensive spending and are in the bottom half of the league for defensive spending

We talked the other day about how Jimmy Garoppolo has the highest cap hit for quarterbacks in 2018, and that dollar amount contributes to something larger; how much that offense costs as a whole. We brought this up a few months ago, but it’s still fascinating how the 49ers have leaped up in spending as opposed to 2017. Over The Cap has the 49ers currently third in positional spending for the offense at $112.93 million. In front of the 49ers is the Atlanta Falcons in second and Oakland Raiders at first.

Keep in mind, $37 million of that goes directly to Garoppolo, while the remaining $75.93 million goes to the rest of the offense. The offensive line as a whole makes roughly what Garoppolo does individually. Eric Branch took a look at the 49ers offensive spending on Monday.

This is a huge jump for the 49ers, as in 2017 they spent $61.13 million in offense. Granted with the salary cap increasing, so do the numbers in the league, but the team hovered around the $60 million mark (and the back half of the league) back when Jim Harbaugh was coaching.

Again, this high number is relative to Garoppolo. If you subtract $20 million and give him only $17 million—which is a respectable salary for an NFL quarterback—you would have the 49ers in the middle of the league in offensive spending. The 49ers wanted to get the large hits out early and have space later, which is why he’s due so much in 2018.

That of course brings something else: The 49ers don’t spend near as much on defense. They sit at 24th in defensive spending at $71.83 million. This is pretty consistent with what they’ve been doing over the years. I figured the defensive spending would be a larger amount a few years back, given how productive the defense was, but the 49ers managed to hover in just the middle of the pack since 2013 (the last year you can look at on Over the Cap).

The defense will start to climb in the coming years as contract extensions on young players come due. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have turned over the roster quite a bit. It could be returning DeForest Buckner though who ends up being the first truly mega-contract for this defense. Of course, given the fifth year option the 49ers hold on him in 2020, it will likely be some time before the 49ers have to pay the piper.