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Dee Ford contract boils down a guaranteed 2019 and then year to year

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The true MVP of the 49ers: Paraag Marathe

The contract details for Dee Ford have been coming out and everyone who was worried about the massive hit the salary cap took can relax a bit. Ford does get some crazy guaranteed money, yes it’s $87 million, but the San Francisco 49ers took advantage of the money they have up front to get him taken care of. On the surface it looks like it was $45 million in guarantees, but this is Paraag Marathe we’re talking about here, and it doesn’t work like that. Instead it’s a contract with a huge hit for 2019, but besides incentives and other things, turns into a year-to-year deal.

Per Over the Cap, Ford gets 14.6 million in 2019, most of which is made of his $20.5 million in guarantees. Broken down, there is his signing bonus of $1.6 million (a prorated piece of $8 million), $7 million roster bonus (for 2019) and his salary of $4.75 million.

The remaining $25.25 million is guaranteed for injury. Ford’s $13.65 million base salary in 2020 becomes fully guaranteed if he is with the 49ers after April 1st. That this means if Ford somehow doesn’t work out after one year, the 49ers can cut him and only suffer 6.4 million in dead money for 2020. That dead money is what remains of his $8 million roster bonus. There’s nothing else the 49ers would owe. In 2021, his salary is listed as a partial injury guarantee.

The total value of this contract can be increased up to $2.5 million on if he’s selected to the Pro Bowl or not.

Ford’s cap hits for each season are as follows:

2019: $14.6 million
2020: $16.1 million
2021: $17.6 million
2022: $18.6 million
2023: $18.6 million

What this is, is a front-loaded contract that pays Ford and if he doesn’t work out, the 49ers can cut him and not take a huge hit in their books. If Ford were to get injured, the guarantees kick in, but the 49ers can effectively remove him from the roster without their books getting fried.

When you look at the team’s activity this last week, it may look like they spent all that money on their new toys. Not so. the 49ers came into free agency with $65 million in salary cap space and after all this madness have $45 million remaining. This puts them fourth in the NFL in salary cap space.