With the offseason winding down, it’s a good time to take the time to look forward to 2020, and take a look at the San Francisco 49ers cap situation.
As of now, the 49ers have 60 players signed for 2020. This includes the expected signings of first round pick Nick Bosa, and second round pick Deebo Samuel.
They have $201,980,330 in committed salaries for those 60 players, and on a $200 million projected cap, they have $3,284,670 in cap room, if including the top-51 salaries.
This means that the 49ers have $24,765,980 in cap room for 2019, but that’s only factoring in the top-51 rule, and not the entire roster.
The 49ers have several ways of creating cap room in 2020, obviously they’ll likely carryover between $20 million to $25 million into 2020, but below are other options, including potential cap-cuts.
The 49ers could clear $4.9 million by cutting starting strong safety Jaquiski Tartt, who hasn’t been as effective as 49ers fans would have liked, and he’s also dealt with his fair share of injuries.
There’s also starting slot cornerback K’Waun Williams. If the 49ers decline his 2020 option, they save $2.45 million. Williams has played well, but being this would be his final year, and with up-and-coming D.J. Reed a factor, they could look to the future with the younger player.
Next up are a pair of linebackers whose value has been seen on special teams: David Mayo, and Mark Nzeocha. If they cut Mayo, they save $1.25 million, and if they cut Nzeocha, they save $1.5 million.
Of course there’s other ways to create cap room, they could restructure Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract by lowering his $23.8 million, while creating a giant sized signing bonus. If he has a rather productive year, they could tack on a few more years onto his deal, creating a good amount of cap room.
They could also extend defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who is due $12.378 million, and use the difference to make up his bonus, and structure, while also saving some cap room. The extension has been seen as a priority by fans and the 49ers. One thing is sure: Buckner isn’t going to come cheap on a multi-year deal and he might be steering clear of those team-friendly contracts the 49ers like to get players to sign for. If there’s anything the 49ers are trying to clear space for, it’s Buckner. Especially if he has a god-like season with opposing offensive lines unable to triple-team him anymore.
Some other players to keep an eye on, running back Jerick McKinnon, who is scheduled to earn a $6.5 million base salary, may need to take a pay cut to stick with the 49ers, especially with fellow running back Tevin Coleman making just $4.9 million total. It may be a prove-it year for McKinnon and if he can’t prove good reason for this three-headed beast Kyle Shanahan is trying to make the running back unit, he might be first to go due to the money.
Starting left guard Laken Tomlinson will be entering the second year of his contract extension, and he’s due to make $3.5 million in base pay, with $2 million becoming guaranteed on April 1, 2020. He needs more consistency, or he could become a cut candidate. The same can be said for starting right guard Mike Person, who is scheduled to earn $2.5 million total, with only $250,000 guaranteed for injury.
All in all, the 2020 offseason may be a year where they let some of their free agents walk. They may sign few free agents, while extending their own players, and collect the compensatory draft picks that follow for the 2021 draft. The 49ers haven’t had too many compensatory picks in the last couple of years due to the roster turnover, but now that the roster has gotten to where John Lynch and Shanahan want it, they may be ready to start letting players walk and plug in younger players hand-picked by them.
Another possibility for the 49ers is to backload contracts, which they haven’t done since Shanahan and Lynch came onboard. This would still allow the team to bring in a couple big name free agents while retaining their own.
The 49ers will have cap room to work with either way come 2020, but it’s good to be aware of the possibilities.