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After Friday, dead money on roster cuts is split over two seasons

The “post-June 1st designation” is officially dead until next March.

The clock has passed 1 p.m. Pacific Time, and that is kind of a big deal in the NFL calendar. League business ends for the day at 1 p.m. PT, which means we are done with transactions for the day. I bring that up because starting tomorrow, the salary cap impact of roster cuts changes.

Starting with the new league year in March up through June 1st, a team can handle the salary cap implications of a roster cut in one of two ways. The default is that the money rolls up on the current salary cap. The team can also choose to designate a player a post-June 1st cut. In that case, the 2018 prorated signing bonus money hits the 2018 cap, and any subsequent prorated money hits 2019. Teams use this option if they are facing a cap crunch and want to spread the hit over two years. The team can release the player immediately, but they do not get the cap space until June 2nd.

Now that June 1st is coming to a close, any subsequent roster cuts are automatically treated as a “post-June 1st cut” because, well, they are all cut after June 1st.

Let’s use Garrett Celek as an example. He received a $2.5 million signing bonus when he signed his contract extension in 2016. If the 49ers had cut Celek prior to June 1st, the default would meant the 49ers would carry $1,250,000 million in dead money, and clear $1,425,000 in cap space. The $1.25 million consists of $625,000 in prorated signing bonus money for each of the remaining two years on his deal.

If the 49ers had cut him prior to tomorrow and designated him a post-June 1st cut, they would carry $625,000 in dead money and clear $2,050,000 in cap space this year. The remaining $625,000 in dead money would be on their 2019 salary cap.

Moving forward starting tomorrow, if the 49ers were to cut Celek this year, the latter post-June 1st dead money numbers automatically apply.

This is notable for a couple reasons. The first is because we often see a lot of old names on the dead money list, and people wonder why they’re still listed. Or, you see someone who is on the roster listed on the dead money list and wonder what’s up. An example of that is Nick Mullens. The 49ers cut him last year at the end of training camp. He had signed a UDFA contract with a small signing bonus, and even though he later re-signed with the team this past January on a reserve/future contract, his dead money was split last year and $1,334 remains on the books this year.

The other reason this is notable is because the 49ers are likely to cut or trade at least one veteran by the time Week 1 of the regular season rolls around. When they make that kind of move, they will be splitting the dead money between this year and next year. So, keep an eye out!