Last season, the 49ers were so close to their salary cap limit that the team couldn’t call up certain players from the practice squad. Heading into Sunday’s matchup against the Detriot Lions, the Niners were down to about $1.52 million in cap space.
Knowing the team will call up the likes of Travis Benjamin, Dee Virgin, and Nate Sudfeld — and any potential free agent signings throughout the year — the 49ers knew they had to re-work some contracts or potentially extend a player to create salary-cap space.
In February, we talked about the possibility of re-doing contracts for Jimmie Ward and Laken Tomlinson, as that’d be an easy way to create quick cap space without handcuffing yourself down the line.
Per ESPN’s Field Yates, the Niners created $5.9 million in cap space by converting $7.8 million of Ward’s 2021 compensation into a bonus. As a result, San Francisco now has $7.3 million in cap space.
If the team gets to a point where they covet a player in the middle of the season or before the trade deadline, we might see something similar with Tomlinson or Arik Armstead.