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Revisiting the 49ers 2020 & Beyond Salary Cap Situation after the Sanders trade

Taking a look at the salary cap and making a few projections

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Recently I went deeper into the San Francisco 49ers 2020 salary cap and beyond, and with the trade for Emmanuel Sanders, now is a great time to dive back in.

For the next ten weeks/games, Sanders will earn $5,970,588.

At this moment, I have the 49ers at $12,723,862 under the 2019 salary cap, but again like I mentioned in my previous article, the 49ers will have to pay back roster bonuses to several players, all totaled it would cost the 49ers $2,612,500 in cap room.

Another thing is Richard Sherman’s $4 million in incentives, broken down as $1 million for making the Pro Bowl, $1 million for playing 90% of the defensive snaps, and $2 million for making the All-pro team.

In this article, I’ll yet again outline how we can retain our bigger name free agents in 2020, while still being able to extend several key players that I described in the last article.

I’ve identified eight players who are in line for new deals, and they are below.

FB Kyle Juszczyk

TE George Kittle

DE Arik Armstead

DE Ronald Blair III

DT DeForest Buckner

CB Richard Sherman

CB Ahkello Witherspoon

FS Jimmie Ward

With Juszczyk, Buckner, and Sherman, they can convert most of their base salaries in 2020, using the difference to their bonus structures.

Kittle, Armstead, Blair, Witherspoon, and Ward will cost salary cap room, so the 49ers can create it by restructuring Jimmy Garoppolo’s deal.

By doing so, the 49ers would create $19.204 million in cap space; also, the 49ers will likely move on from Jerick McKinnon.

Some other 2020 candidates for restructuring are Weston Richburg, Joe Staley, Kwon Alexander, and Dee Ford. Hopefully, the 49ers don’t have to restructure any of those deals.

But if the 49ers were to restructure these deals, the max savings are below.

Restructuring Richburg’s deal would save the team $4,606,666 in cap space, and this is assuming they don’t extend Richburg. If they did, the max savings would be $5.364 million, assuming the 49ers add two years onto Richburg’s deal.

If the 49ers didn’t extend Richburg, it would add $1,893,333 to his cap numbers in 2021-2022, while extending Richburg through 2024 would add $1.136 million to his cap numbers.

Restructuring Staley’s deal would save the team $ 5,797,500, but it would add $4,752,500 to his 2021 cap number. I don’t see Staley playing beyond 2021 since he’s currently 35 years old.

Restructuring Alexander’s deal would save the team $7,773,333 in cap space but would add $3,476,666 to his cap numbers in 2021-2022.

Restructuring Ford’s deal would save the team $10,442,500 in cap space but would add $3,207,500 to his salary cap numbers in 2021-2023.

I have the following average per year for the above eight players.

FB Kyle Juszczyk – $5 million

TE George Kittle – $12 million

DE Arik Armstead – $12 million

DE Ronald Blair III – $5 million

DT DeForest Buckner – $20 million

CB Richard Sherman – $9 million

CB Ahkello Witherspoon – $7 million

FS Jimmie Ward – $5 million

Now, I doubt the 49ers will structure the deals where they have each year having the players APY counting against the cap. Instead, the 49ers will likely backload the deals into 2022 and beyond, when the 49ers have over $125 million in cap room in 2022 and over $211 million in 2023. These assume a $220 million cap for 2022 and a $230 million cap for 2023.

I have the 49ers signing Buckner, and Kittle to 5-year deals through 2025.

I have the 49ers signing Juszczyk, Witherspoon, Blair, Armstead to 4-year deals through 2024.

I have the 49ers signing Sherman to 3-year deals through 2023.

And I have the 49ers signing Ward to a 2-year deal through 2022.

I also have the 49ers tendering Matt Breida at the 2nd-round tender, which should be $3.278 million, while I also have them tendering exclusive rights free agents Nick Mullens, Jeff Wilson Jr., Ross Dwelley, Daniel Brunskill, and Emmanuel Moseley.

Mullens, Wilson, and Dwelley’s tenders would be for $660,000, while Brunskill and Moseley’s tenders would be for $585,000.

Mullens, Wilson, and Dwelley will be restricted free agents in 2021, but I’ve left them off my list as it’s a way to early and hard to project RFA tender amounts for 2021. The same goes for Moseley, and Brunskill, who would be RFAs in 2022.

As for key 2021 free agents, I have the 49ers re-signing Jaquiski Tartt to a 3-year deal, averaging $5 million a year, K’Waun Williams to a 3-year deal, averaging $3 million a year, Matt Breida to a 3-year deal, averaging $4.5 million a year, and Tevin Coleman to a 2-year deal, averaging $4.5 million a year.

I have the 49ers restructuring Jimmy Garoppolo’s deal again, which would be the last time doing this, and they would save over $18 million in salary-cap space.

I also have the 49ers restructuring Dee Ford’s deal, which would save the team over $10 million in salary-cap space.

With Emmanuel Sanders on the team, it looks like Marquise Goodwin’s time will be up very soon, as it would save the team $3.875 million in 2020, and $7.625 million in 2021 if cut or traded.

Next is Jerick McKinnon, who has a $2.6 million guarantee, which is for injury, and fully on April 1, 2020.

If McKinnon is healthy, the 49ers would save around $3.89 million in cap space, if not healthy; they’d only save $1.29 million.

Now let’s get back to the salary cap in 2020. I expect the 49ers to get between $5 million and $8 million in adjustments/credits, which is extra cap space?

If the 49ers make the moves above, they would be left with $6,992,659 in cap room for 2020, and only their 1st-round pick would count against the cap during the offseason, which is only the top 51 salaries, and of course dead money.

This would lock up Buckner, Armstead, Kittle, Sherman, Juszyczk, Witherspoon, and Blair on multi-year deals while keeping their flexibility to add some veterans in free agency.

I don’t see them adding many, if any, big named free agents, but rather continue to build through the draft, this is also why any trade this season makes no sense, as it would deplete their cap room, and leave no carryover for 2020, making it impossible to keep their core together.

The only players who will cost cap space are Kittle, and Witherspoon, while they can convert most of Juszyczk, Buckner, and Sherman’s base salaries into the bonus structure.

Now it’s tough to determine what their cap hits would be, so I’ve left them at what they are, but the 49ers could save some money with any of these three deals.

I’ve also included salary escalations for Kittle, and Witherspoon in my current 2020 salary cap numbers for the PPE(Proven Performance Escalator), as they’ve played 35% of snaps in the first two seasons of their career.

As for overall structure, I’d expect them to somewhat front load Buckner, Witherspoon, and Kittle’s deals, while backloading the other deals.

The only other UFA I’d want back is TE Levine Toilolo, who would likely sign a 1-year veteran minimum deal, costing $750,000 against the cap.

Emmanuel Sanders is a player I’m sure the 49ers will want to keep around, but I’m not sure what his value would be, so I’ve left him out for now. He turns 32 and could get a nice two-year deal to finish his career, or he could take something under 10 million.

Below are the cap tables for 2020-2023, and again I expect the 49ers to backload the deals into 2022 and 2023 for those signing deals that run through those years.

2020:

# Name Pos. Signed 2020 Cap Number
55 Ford, Dee LEO 2023 $16,100,000
56 Alexander, Kwon WLB 2022 $13,100,000
99 Buckner, DeForest DT 2026 $12,378,000
91 Armstead, Arik DE/DT 2024 $12,000,000
85 Kittle, George TE 2025 $12,000,000
74 Staley, Joe LT 2021 $11,750,000
25 Sherman, Richard CB 2024 $10,050,000
94 Thomas, Solomon DE/DT 2020 $8,958,213
58 Richburg, Weston C 2022 $8,860,000
10 Garoppolo, Jimmy QB 2024 $8,360,000
97 Bosa, Nick DE/LEO 2022 $7,625,424
23 Witherspoon, Ahkello CB 2024 $7,000,000
44 Juszczyk, Kyle FB 2024 $6,800,000
29 Tartt, Jaquiski SS 2020 $6,400,000
75 Tomlinson, Laken LG 2021 $5,250,000
9 Gould, Robbie PK 2022 $5,100,000
69 McGlinchey, Mike RT 2021 $5,002,330
98 Blair III, Ronald LEO/DT 2024 $5,000,000
20 Ward, Jimmie FS/CB 2021 $5,000,000
26 Coleman, Tevin RB 2020 $4,900,000
22 Breida, Matt RB 2020 $3,278,000
31 Mostert, Raheem RB 2021 $3,208,333
24 Williams, K'Waun CB 2020 $3,200,000
68 Person, Mike RG 2021 $2,500,000
19 Samuel, Deebo WR 2022 $1,749,399
18 Pettis, Dante WR 2021 $1,745,608
53 Nzeocha, Mark SLB 2021 $1,500,000
3 Beathard, C.J. QB 2020 $1,122,751
54 Warner, Fred MLB 2021 $1,096,547
86 Nelson, Kyle LS/TE 2022 $975,000
17 Hurd, Jalen WR/TE 2022 $972,655
33 Moore, Tarvarius FS/CB 2021 $896,093
95 Street, Kentavius DE/NT 2021 $812,550
15 Taylor, Trent WR 2020 $785,487
6 Wishnowsky, Mitch P 2022 $776,018
93 Jones, D.J. NT 2020 $771,967
83 Toilolo, Levine TE 2020 $750,000
32 Reed Jr., D.J. CB/FS 2021 $737,843
77 Taylor, Jullian DT 2021 $684,511
13 James Jr., Richie WR 2021 $679,143
57 Greenlaw, Dre SLB 2022 $665,429
4 Mullens, Nick QB 2020 $660,000
30 Wilson Jr., Jeff RB 2020 $660,000
40 Tabor, Teez CB 2020 $660,000
47 Lee, Elijah SLB 2020 $660,000
82 Dwelley, Ross TE 2020 $660,000
36 Harris, Marcell SS 2020 $660,000
67 Skule, Justin RT/LT 2022 $629,887
51 Al-Shaair, Azeez MLB 2021 $590,000
41 Moseley, Emmanuel CB 2020 $585,000
60 Brunskill, Daniel LG 2020 $585,000
35 Harris Jr., Tim CB 2022 $549,577
1 Poindexter, Shawn WR 2021 $511,666
90 Givens, Kevin DT 2020 $510,000
45 Flannigan-Fowles, Demetrius SLB 2020 $510,000
76 Reynolds, Ross LG 2020 $510,000
43 Helm, Daniel TE 2020 $510,000
92 Valoaga, Jeremiah LEO 2020 $510,000
7 Henry, Malik WR 2020 $510,000
71 Jones-Smith, Jaryd LT 2020 $510,000

Total $211,522,431
Dead $6,798,772
Total and Dead $218,321,203
Top 51 Rule $213,731,203
2020 Cap $200,000,000
Cap Space $6,992,659
Effective Cap Room $2,402,659
Projected Adjustments $8,000,000
2019 Carryover $12,723,862
2019 Carryover(Effective) $12,723,862
Players Signed 60 Players

Dead Money Amount
Jerick McKinnon $4,000,000
Marquise Goodwin $2,500,000
Kaden Smith $150,086
Marcell Harris $83,150
Adrian Colbert $21,200
Malik Henry $10,000
Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles $8,334
Kevin Givens $8,000
Jamell Garcia-Williams $6,667
Tyree Mayfield $6,667
Wilton Speight $3,334
Ross Reynolds $1,334
Total $6,798,772

2021:

# Name Pos. Signed 2021 Cap Number
99 Buckner, DeForest DT 2025 $20,000,000
56 Alexander, Kwon WLB 2022 $14,400,000
10 Garoppolo, Jimmy QB 2024 $14,011,250
74 Staley, Joe LT 2021 $12,500,000
91 Armstead, Arik DE/DT 2024 $12,000,000
85 Kittle, George TE 2025 $12,000,000
58 Richburg, Weston C 2022 $10,210,000
97 Bosa, Nick DE/LEO 2022 $9,150,509
25 Sherman, Richard CB 2022 $9,000,000
55 Ford, Dee LEO 2023 $8,056,666
23 Witherspoon, Ahkello CB 2024 $7,000,000
75 Tomlinson, Laken LG 2021 $6,250,000
69 McGlinchey, Mike RT 2021 $5,836,052
9 Gould, Robbie PK 2022 $5,250,000
98 Blair III, Ronald LEO/DT 2024 $5,000,000
44 Juszyzck, Kyle FB 2024 $5,000,000
20 Ward, Jimmie FS/CB 2021 $5,000,000
29 Tartt, Jaquiski SS 2023 $5,000,000
22 Breida, Matt RB 2023 $4,500,000
26 Coleman, Tevin RB 2022 $4,500,000
31 Mostert, Raheem RB 2021 $3,508,334
68 Person, Mike RG 2021 $3,000,000
24 Williams, K'Waun CB 2023 $3,000,000
19 Samuel, Deebo WR 2022 $2,099,279
18 Pettis, Dante WR 2021 $2,036,543
53 Nzeocha, Mark SLB 2021 $1,600,000
54 Warner, Fred MLB 2021 $1,234,547
17 Hurd, Jalen WR/TE 2022 $1,167,186
86 Nelson, Kyle LS/TE 2022 $1,045,000
33 Moore, Tarvarius FS/CB 2021 $980,093
95 Street, Kentavius DE/NT 2021 $902,550
6 Wishnowsky, Mitch P 2022 $866,018
32 Reed Jr., D.J. CB/FS 2021 $827,843
77 Taylor, Jullian DT 2021 $774,511
13 James Jr., Richie WR 2021 $769,143
57 Greenlaw, Dre SLB 2022 $755,429
67 Skule, Justin RT/LT 2022 $719,887
35 Harris Jr., Tim CB 2022 $714,577
51 Al-Shaair, Azeez MLB 2021 $680,000
1 Poindexter, Shawn WR 2021 $676,668
41 Moseley, Emmanuel CB 2021 $675,000
60 Brunskill, Daniel LG 2021 $675,000

Total $203,372,085
Dead $0
Total and Dead $203,372,085
2021 Cap $210,000,000
Cap Space $6,627,915
Effective Cap Room $6,627,915
Players under contract 43 Players

2022:

# Name Pos. Signed 2022 Cap Number
10 Garoppolo, Jimmy QB 2022 $37,376,250
55 Ford, Dee LEO 2023 $23,371,666
99 Buckner, DeForest DT 2025 $20,000,000
56 Alexander, Kwon WLB 2022 $14,500,000
85 Kittle, George TE 2025 $12,000,000
91 Armstead, Arik DE/DT 2024 $12,000,000
58 Richburg, Weston C 2022 $11,010,000
97 Bosa, Nick DE/LEO 2022 $10,675,564
25 Sherman, Richard CB 2022 $9,000,000
23 Witherspoon, Ahkello CB 2024 $7,000,000
98 Blair III, Ronald LEO/DT 2024 $5,000,000
44 Juszyzck, Kyle FB 2024 $5,000,000
29 Tartt, Jaquiski SS 2023 $5,000,000
22 Breida, Matt RB 2023 $4,500,000
26 Coleman, Tevin RB 2022 $4,500,000
9 Gould, Robbie PK 2022 $4,750,000
24 Williams, K'Waun CB 2023 $3,000,000
19 Samuel, Deebo WR 2022 $2,449,159
17 Hurd, Jalen WR/TE 2022 $1,361,717
86 Nelson, Kyle LS/TE 2022 $1,140,000
6 Wishnowsky, Mitch P 2022 $956,018
57 Greenlaw, Dre SLB 2022 $845,429
67 Skule, Justin RT/LT 2022 $809,887
35 Harris Jr., Tim CB 2022 $804,577

Total $197,050,267
Dead $0
Total and Dead $197,050,267
2022 Cap $220,000,000
Cap Space $22,949,733
Players under contract 24 Players

# Name Pos. Signed 2023 Cap Number
55 Ford, Dee LEO 2023 $23,371,666
99 Buckner, DeForest DT 2025 $20,000,000
85 Kittle, George TE 2025 $12,000,000
91 Armstead, Arik DE/DT 2024 $12,000,000
23 Witherspoon, Ahkello CB 2024 $7,000,000
44 Juszyzck, Kyle FB 2024 $5,000,000
29 Tartt, Jaquiski SS 2023 $5,000,000
22 Breida, Matt RB 2023 $5,000,000
98 Blair III, Ronald LEO/DT 2024 $5,000,000
24 Williams, K'Waun CB 2023 $3,000,000

2023:

Total $97,371,666
Dead $0
Total and Dead $97,371,666
2023 Cap $230,000,000
Cap Space $132,628,334
Players under contract 10 Players

And in 2021, the 49ers have several free agents, namely K’Waun Williams, Matt Breida, Solomon Thomas, D.J. Jones, C.J. Beathard, Tevin Coleman, Jaquiski Tartt, and Trent Taylor, while Nick Mullens, Jeff WIlson Jr., Ross Dwelley, would be restricted free agents, and Emmanuel Moseley would be an exclusive rights free agent again.

So basically, the 49ers can indeed keep their core together, even with the addition of Emmanuel Sanders, though I don’t know what his value will be as a free agent.

Lastly, the 49ers could add incentives into a number of these new deals, that would give the players a chance to earn more per year.