As of writing, the 49ers have a little more than $8 million in cap space per Over the Cap as we head into the offseason. There isn’t a player on the roster the team could release to save a bunch of money, as has been the case in previous years.
But that doesn’t mean San Francisco won’t find ways to get creative with the salary cap. There are a few players on the team that have contracts where the team could either extend or restructure. So let’s go over a big one, both figuratively and literally.
Generally speaking, you want to restructure a player you know will be around for a while. In this case, Trent Williams said after the Pro Bowl that he has no plans of hanging the cleats up and that he’s under contract until he’s 39, which is through the 2026 season.
The simplest way to explain an NFL contract restructure is that it’s a conversion of a base salary or roster bonus into a signing bonus. It’s a tool many teams use that allows them to spread the hit over multiple years, with the maximum being five.
According to Over the Cap, the 49ers could save $13.7 million in 2023 by restructuring Williams’s contract. Here would be the cap savings over the next two seasons:
Those savings could be the difference between retaining Mike McGlinchey and Charles Omenihu as opposed to choosing between the two, for example.
Williams has the “easiest” contract to move the money around, as 2023 will be the final year of the guaranteed salary in his deal. A month from now, don’t be surprised to hear how the 49ers restructured Williams’s contract to create more cap space.