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Taking a look at the 49ers 2020 cap situation

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I take a look at the 49ers salary cap situation for 2020, and why quick fixes via trades are not a good idea

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With the first quarter of the 2019 regular season in the books, and the 49ers sitting at 3-0, I thought this would be a good time to take a peek towards 2020’s salary cap situation.

Right now the 49ers have 43 players signed for 2020, counting for $194,315,398, plus an additional $298,692 in dead money, leaving them $6,405,910 under a projected $200 million salary cap, that is of course before carryover.

As of now, the 49ers have $20,389,023 in salary cap room this season and added to the above number, and it would give the 49ers a projected $26,794,933 in cap space for 2020.

Players with expiring contracts the next two seasons

The 49ers have several players, in which their contracts are up after 2019 or 2020, who look to be worthy of contract extensions, they are listed below.

RB Matt Breida

FB Kyle Juszcyzk

TE George Kittle

DE Arik Armstead

DE Ronald Blair III

DT DeForest Buckner

CB Richard Sherman

CB Ahkello Witherspoon

First off, Breida is a restricted free agent and should receive a 2nd-round tender, which, with a $200 million cap, would be $3.278 million, according to OverTheCap. If we add that to the 49ers commitments, it will leave the 49ers with $22,496,933 in cap room.

Next up the 49ers would likely tender exclusive right free agents Nick Mullens, and Jeff Wilson Jr. Those tenders would be for $660,000 each. That’s $1.32 million combined, leaving the 49ers at $21,176,933 in cap room.

Practice squad contracts

Now if the season ended today, they would likely sign their 10-man practice squad to reserve/future deals. Those would look like the following for 2020.

WR Malik Henry – $510,000

TE Daniel Helm – $510,000

LG Ross Reynolds – $510,000

LT Jaryd Jones-Smith – $510,000

DE Jeremiah Valoaga – $585,000

DT Kevin Givens – $510,000

SLB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles – $510,000

SLB Elijah Lee – $660,000

CB Teez Tabor – $660,000

SS Marcell Harris – $585,000

Now, this would put the team in the top 51 protocol, which means they would have $17,816,933 in cap room, with 55 players committed to 2020 contracts.

Creating wiggle room

Now let’s look at ways the 49ers can create a much-needed salary cap room.

First off, they can restructure Jimmy Garoppolo’s deal, by adding two additional years to his deal and lowering his base salary to $1 million, it would save the team $18.24 million against the cap while locking Garoppolo up through 2024. If we add the $18.24 million to the current cap room noted above, they’d be $36,056,933 under the 2020 cap.

They also have several veterans who they could move on from, let’s take a look at those, and what they’d save if they did so.

RB Jerick McKinnon – $4.04 million, note that McKinnon has $2.6 million of his base salary guaranteed for injury, and fully on April 1, 2020.

LG Laken Tomlinson – $2.24 million, note that Tomlinson has his base salary guaranteed for injury, and fully on April 1, 2020

RG Mike Person – $1.99 million

CB K’Waun Williams – $1.94 million

SS Jaquiski Tartt – $4.39 million

Now let’s take a look at potential extensions for guys like Buckner, Kittle, Witherspoon, Sherman, and Juszcyzk, and what they could look like average per year wise.

The 49ers biggest extensions they need to take care of are DeForest Buckner, and George Kittle. Buckner, in my opinion, will become the 2nd highest paid interior defensive lineman, in the $20 million a year range, while Kittle will likely become the highest-paid tight end at around $10.5 million a year.

A new deal for Ahkello Witherspoon shouldn’t be too pricy, likely in the $4.5 million to $5 million a year.

I’d expect Kyle Juszcyzk, and Richard Sherman to come in at their current average per year, which are $5.25 million for Juszcyzk, and $9.05 million for Sherman.

Deals for Buckner, Juszcyzk, and Sherman wouldn’t need to take up much, if any, cap room, as the 49ers can turn the majority of their base salaries into the bonus structure(signing bonus prorations, and a likely guaranteed roster bonus), while deals for Kittle and Witherspoon would require the use of salary cap room.

Pending free agents

Now let’s look at pending free agents, and what they could look to get on new deals with the 49ers.

Arik Armstead has shown that he’s greatly improved under Robert Saleh, and new defensive line coach Kris Kocurek and he should get in the $8 million to $9 million a year range.

Ronald Blair III has shown an ability to rush the passer, and make a difference when given a chance, should command in the $4 million to $5 million range.

Now let’s say Kittle’s deal takes up $8 million of the teams cap space, Witherspoon’s deal takes up $3 million in cap space, while Armstead at $9 million, and Blair at $5 million, would leave the 49ers with $11,056,933 in cap room, which is more than enough to sign their draft class, and this is without any potential cap cuts.

Cap cut wise; I believe McKinnon and Tartt are the most likely options, which would clear $8.43 million in cap room, leaving the team $19,486,933, which is enough for the team to go out in free agency, and improve the roster even more.

So to those who want a quick fix, the 49ers can’t afford to trade for someone like Jalen Ramsey, Chris Harris, or anyone with a big salary, as it would deplete their salary cap in 2019, and leave little, to nothing, in carryover for 2020.

Three other exclusive right free agents the 49ers would likely tender would only cost $585,000 for Emmanuel Moseley, Daniel Brunskill, and Ross Dwelley, who would cost $660,000, but they wouldn’t have much of an impact on the teams’ offseason salary cap room.

The 49ers would need to make decisions on some free agents, namely veterans Levine Toilolo, Ben Garland, Shon Coleman, Sheldon Day, Jason Verrett, Jimmie Ward, and Antone Exum Jr.

To summarize what I’ve laid out for everyone is simple, the 49ers can keep their core intact, while adding some pieces to the puzzle, but if the 49ers were to opt for short term fixes, it would greatly hamper their efforts to keep the guys outlined in this article, and those acquired via trade.

If the 49ers decided to keep McKinnon and Tartt, they’d still have enough cap space to go out and sign a few free agents, and their entire draft class. The chart showing it is below.
Name Pos. Signed 2020 Cap Number
Ford, Dee LEO 2023 $16,100,000
Alexander, Kwon WLB 2022 $13,100,000
Buckner, DeForest DT 2020 $12,378,000
Staley, Joe LT 2021 $11,750,000
Sherman, Richard CB 2020 $10,050,000
Kittle, George TE 2020 $10,000,000
Armstead, Arik DE/DT 2023 $9,000,000
Thomas, Solomon DE/DT 2020 $8,958,213
Richburg, Weston C 2022 $8,860,000
McKinnon, Jerick RB 2021 $8,550,000
Garoppolo, Jimmy QB 2024 $8,360,000
Bosa, Nick DE/LEO 2022 $7,625,424
Juszczyk, Kyle FB 2020 $6,800,000
Tartt, Jaquiski SS 2020 $6,400,000
Tomlinson, Laken LG 2021 $5,250,000
Goodwin, Marquise WR 2021 $5,125,000
Gould, Robbie PK 2022 $5,100,000
McGlinchey, Mike RT 2021 $5,002,330
Blair III, Ronald LEO/DT 2022 $5,000,000
Witherspoon, Ahkello CB 2020 $5,000,000
Coleman, Tevin RB 2020 $4,900,000
Breida, Matt RB 2020 $3,278,000
Mostert, Raheem RB 2021 $3,208,333
Williams, K'Waun CB 2020 $3,200,000
Person, Mike RG 2021 $2,500,000
Samuel, Deebo WR 2022 $1,749,399
Pettis, Dante WR 2021 $1,745,608
Nzeocha, Mark SLB 2021 $1,500,000
Beathard, C.J. QB 2020 $1,122,751
Warner, Fred MLB 2021 $1,096,547
Toilolo, Levine TE 2020 $1,000,000
Nelson, Kyle LS/TE 2022 $975,000
Hurd, Jalen WR/TE 2022 $972,655
Moore, Tarvarius FS/CB 2021 $896,093
Street, Kentavius DE/NT 2021 $812,550
Taylor, Trent WR 2020 $785,487
Wishnowsky, Mitch P 2022 $776,018
Jones, D.J. NT 2020 $771,967
Reed Jr., D.J. CB/FS 2021 $737,843
Taylor, Jullian DT 2021 $684,511
James Jr., Richie WR 2021 $679,143
Greenlaw, Dre SLB 2022 $665,429
Mullens, Nick QB 2020 $660,000
Wilson Jr., Jeff RB 2020 $660,000
Tabor, Teez CB 2020 $660,000
Lee, Elijah SLB 2020 $660,000
Dwelley, Ross TE 2020 $660,000
Skule, Justin RT/LT 2022 $629,887
Al-Shaair, Azeez MLB 2021 $590,000
Moseley, Emmanuel CB 2020 $585,000
Brunskill, Daniel LG 2020 $585,000
Harris Jr., Tim CB 2022 $549,577
Poindexter, Shawn WR 2021 $511,666
Givens, Kevin DT 2021 $510,000
Flannigan-Fowles, Demetrius SLB 2021 $510,000
Reynolds, Ross LG 2021 $510,000
Helm, Daniel TE 2021 $510,000
Valoaga, Jeremiah LEO 2021 $510,000
Henry, Malik WR 2021 $510,000
Harris, Marcell SS 2021 $510,000
Jones-Smith, Jaryd LT 2021 $510,000
Total $213,297,431
Dead $298,692
Total and Dead $213,596,123
Top 51 Rule $208,496,123
2020 Cap $200,000,000
Cap Space $11,561,017
Effective Cap Room ($5,199,799)
2019 Carryover $20,057,140
2019 Carryover(Effective) $8,396,324
Players Signed 61 Players

Dead Money Amount
Kaden Smith $150,006
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 $298,692