So Jason Hurley brought up Solomon Thomas and the some, $4 million he’ll account for on the salary cap. The idea was to trade Thomas to get that $4 million and have it available for someone like Arik Armstead or DeForest Buckner who need it for their deals.
Here’s the thing, while I’m not near as down on Solomon Thomas as some people are, he’s not worth $4 million, at least not from what we’ve seen. And the NFL at-large isn’t going to give up draft capital for a guy costing $4 million with the body of work Thomas has. For comparison, safety Jimmie Ward went for
$2 million roughly the same amount in 2019.
So the answer is simple: trade Thomas and a draft pick to a team willing to take Thomas and also that salary.
Before you say this idea is nuts, think of it this way: would you rather have the 49ers use that late pick to lock in one of their free agents on a long-term deal or use it on someone with a high percentage of not panning out? So straight across, a team gets a former first-round pick in Thomas, an additional late-round pick, and then takes on his $4 million salarie. The 49ers then get that money cleared on the books and can use that in the mega-deals they have to prepare for someone else. In essence, 49ers have used a sixth or seventh-round pick on their free agent.
This isn’t anything new. The Cleveland Browns made a similar deal with the Houston Texans a few years back. Brock Osweiler got an insane contract in free agency, and the Texans needed to move him for obvious reasons after an atrocious first season with the team. So the Texans sent him to Cleveland...along with a 2017 sixth-round pick and a 2018 second-round pick in exchange for the Browns’ 2017 fourth-round compensatory pick. My point is, the 49ers could get creative here. A 3-4 defensive team would have the cap space to pay Thomas for one year and could get an additional pick in return for his salary.
Even better, the 49ers could “trade” Thomas for nothing (via swapping seventh rounders with someone). They’ll give him to a team willing to take on his cap and call it a day. They can’t release him, because it’s dead money (well, they COULD, but he’s worth it for depth at the very least). Sky’s the limit here.
What do you think? Do you think this trade idea is worth it? Send Thomas and change just to get the salary cap money off the books? Or do you value those late-round picks?