A review of the Salary Cap implications of trading up to #3 to get Trey Lance

On more than one occasion over the past months, I have seen folks in the comments section making the claim that we will have cap savings in the range of 17 million over the next several years due to not having picks in the first and third rounds of 2022 and the first round of 2023. I actually thought this would be true myself until I dove in and did the math and realized it is not the case.

First, let's compare Trey's cap hit with Micah Parsons over the life of their contracts (all contract and cap details from

TL5-total contract: $34.1 million, yearly cap hits: 2021 = 6.2m, 2022 = 7.8m, 2023 = 9.3m, 2024 = 10.9m

Micah P-total contract $17 million, yearly cap hits: 2021 = 2.4m, 2022 = 3.9m, 2023 = 4.7m, 2024 = 5.4m

So over the first four years, we have a total cap loss of just over 17 million, broken down as follows: -3.8m in 2021, -3.9m in 2022, -4.6m in 2023, and -5.5m in 2024

Now let's look at the savings that we'll get by not having the future picks.

2022 first-(currently projecting 25th or worse)- projected (2022 numbers) at around $14.3m, with a 2022 cap of 2.6m, 2023 3.3m, 2024 3.9m, and 2025 4.5m

2022 third-(again, projecting 90th)- projected around 4.8m total, cap hits are: 0.8m 2022, 1.1m 2023, 1.3m 2024, 1.3m 2025

2023 first-(projected at 25th-for this purpose, unless we really go in the tank next year, the difference in these contracts is negligible overall in range of 5 million total). Same as the 2022 first with slight growth (=1.4 million year over year)

Total contract around 15.7m, 2023 cap of 2.9m, 2024 cap 3.6m, 2025 4.3m, 2026 4.9m

So looking at those numbers, we have -$17 million (delta between TL and MP), and a total of 34.8 million in the contracts that we won't have on the books since they are not our picks anymore, so there should be a cap savings of 17 million or so. As always, the devil is in the details on these things...

So, now that we have all the numbers, let's dive into the year over year cap impacts:

2021: -3.8 Million (2021 MP-TL)

2022: -7.7 Million (2021 carryover + 2022 MP-TL) + 3.7m (2022 1st and 3rd) = -4 million

2023: -8.6 Million (2022 carryover + 2023 MP-TL) + 7.3m (2022 1st and 3rd + 2023 1st) = -1.3 million

2024: -6.8 Million (2023 carryover + 2024 MP-TL) + 8.8m (2022 1st and 3rd + 2023 1st) = +2 million

2025: At this point we have the 2 million carryover, plus an additional 10.1 million on the 2022-3 picks and an additional 4.9m coming in 2026, so there's technically about 17 million in cap "savings" as discussed above...

However, the savings really don't hit until 2025-6 and, by then we'll (hopefully) be extending Trey (or picking up his 5th year option which will be the average of the top ten QB salaries), which, assuming he's even half of what we think he is, will be for 25-30+ million per year or more. Or if we're not extending Trey then we'll be bringing in a high priced free agent. Either way the "savings" do not really exist, as even a journeyman bridge will likely eat up most if not all of the 17 million and then some.

These numbers could skew in the direction of more cap savings if Trey is an absolute and total disaster, and the 2023 pick turns into a high first round, but based on the current roster and what we have seen of Trey so far, I think that it is a safe assumption that if we don't make the playoffs next year we will at least be close, so the overall delta is only marginally significant unless it turns into a top ten pick. I think its fair to say that if we are in the bottom third of the league in 2022, any discussions about cap savings from not having two firsts in 2022-2023 will be moot.

So, in summary, in the short term, we lose cap space, at least through the next two years, then in 2024 we see about 2 million in cap savings, and any real cap savings will not hit until 2025 at which point we'll either pick up Trey's 5th year option or extend him, or we will be in the market for his replacement, which would render said savings null and void.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.