Three players on the 49ers roster could create all of the salary cap necessary for the Niners' potential offseason plan to work: Jimmy Garoppolo, Arik Armstead, and Jimmie Ward.
Whether he’s traded or released, San Francisco saves $25.5 million against the cap when they move on from Garoppolo this offseason. That’s a number everybody everywhere is familiar with.
An Armstead restructure, and a Ward extension would also clear enough cap space to sign a marquee free agent or two. If the 49ers extend Ward in the coming weeks, they will immediately save $6.3 million in cap space, per Over the Cap.
The Niners would be kicking the money they’d have to pay Ward down the road, but he’s not a guy that’s going anywhere anytime soon and has earned the money coming his way.
The money saved with Ward’s extension could be used to retain some in-house free agents. Players like Laken Tomlinson and Arden Key are bound to test the free-agent waters. If they’re not blown away by the offers they receive, San Francisco could retain them with the new money created by extending Ward.
Armstead still has three more years on his deal before his contract voids in 2025. He signed an extension with the 49ers in 2020. If the Niners elect to restructure Armstead’s deal, which they should, that will save a projected $9.8 million this season and next.
So, as it stands today, the 49ers are $4 million over the cap. After a Garoppolo trade, a Ward extension, and an Armstead restructure, the team is looking at north of $36 million in cap space.
That’s more than enough money to get deals done for Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel. All while bringing back in-house free agents and signing an impact offensive lineman or cornerback that would help immediately.
The 49ers are strapped for cash today, but that won’t last long. I’d be surprised if we didn’t see a Ward extension or Armstead restructure before free agency began.