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NFL sets 2021 salary cap at $182.5 per team; 49ers have $24 million, per OTC

The salary cap shouldn’t prevent San Francisco from doing what they need to get done during free agency

NFL: Washington Football Team at San Francisco 49ers Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday morning, the NFL informed teams that the 2021 salary cap would be set at $182.5 million. That number is almost 8% lower than last year, and it’s the first drop in a decade.

From Albert Breer’s MMQB, the San Francisco 49ers had $28 million in cap space, according to an NFL team’s salary cap person who crunched the numbers for Breer. That was under the assumption of the salary cap being set at $183 million, so the Niners have plenty of money to get done whatever it is they want, as they have about $24.6 million after the Ross Dwelley and Marcell Harris deals.

We’ve seen teams like the Saints, Eagles, and Cowboys find ways to manipulate the salary cap and get deals done. If the 49ers want a player, “the cap won’t allow it” isn’t an excuse. As Trent Williams told Richard Sherman, “the cap is only an issue when they want it to be an issue.”

You have to save $8-$10 million for your rookie class. Other than that, an extension here or there, plus the roster cuts we expect, should leave San Francisco with money to re-sign Trent Williams, a cornerback, and potentially an edge rusher in free agency.

No team will actually have a cap of $182.5 million with the cap carryover and reconciliation of 2020 earned and unearned incentives — which we covered a week ago. According to Field Yates, the 49ers will carryover about $13 million, which gives the team a $195 million salary cap for 2021:

If the 49ers don’t re-sign a player, it’s because they didn’t want him, not because they couldn’t afford the player. Next week should be fun.