Before I start examining 49ers' Salary Cap situation, I'd like to congratulate the 49ers' players, coaching staff, and loyal fans on a great season. There is no easy way to transition into the off-season after such a close and poorly officiated game, so I will just jump right in.
First, I'll cover SF's salary cap situation as it stands today.
Next, I will project how a few likely events will help our current financial situation.
Then I will go into SF's Free Agents.
SF 49ers Salary Cap Situation Today
As it stands today, the San Francisco 49ers are set to accrue ~$123.3 Million in the 2013 season against a predicted salary cap of ~121 Million. The approximated $123.3M includes committed money and dead money in addition to all 49er player's salary for 2013.
I'm defining "committed money" as the amount of money the 49ers owe to players as a result of incentives or contract stipulations (e.g. Alex Smith's contract from last year requires SF to pay him a minimum of $1.25M regardless of whether he is still on the team in 2013).
"Dead money" is a term used to represent money that is paid to players as a result of SF signing and then releasing these players. Yes, the money SF uses to sign and release football players during the preseason and for practice squad purposes DO count against the 49er's Salary Cap. This amount can vary, but in 49er's case is minute (~400k) compared to the salary cap.
Highly Likely Events to Take Place
1) SF is likely to trade or release Alex Smith, which will open 8.5M in salary cap money in 2013.
2) SF is likely to release David Akers, which will open up 3.5M in salary cap money in 2014.
Events That Should Take Place
1) Carlos Rogers should either be released, traded, or have contract reduced.
If Carlos is released or traded, SF will open up ~2.9M in salary cap money in 2013
2) Vernon Davis should have contract restructured.
Since Vernon is one of the individuals taking up the most cap space in 2013 and with plenty of cap space in 2014. It is likely SF will restructure his contract to open as much as 5M in cap space for the 2013 season.
3) Justin Smith should have contract extended.
Justin, who will turn 34 this year, is on his way to earning 8M in the final year of his contract. Considering his age and the competitiveness of this team in the next few years, Justin will likely restructure his contract, assuming that SF will extend his contract so he can play out his career in San Francisco. This should allow up to 4M in cap space for the 2013 season.
In summary, SF will have ~22M of cap space in 2013.
SF Free Agents
OG Leonard Davis
WR/PR Ted Ginn Jr
FS Dashon Goldson
LB Tavares Gooden
LB Larry Grant
DL Ricky Jean Francois
WR Randy Moss
NT Isaac Sopoaga
TE Delanie Walker
Without analyzing every player, the 2 players that are MUST signs are Dashon Goldson and Delanie Walker.
I assume Dashon Goldson will want a 5-year contract worth no less than 35M, with 20M in guaranteed (This is comparable to the Eric Weddle deal in 2011). This year, I think SF will come to terms with Dashon. This deal will take a 6.5M hit to the salary cap.
Delanie played on a 2M salary last year and should command a 4 year 15M with 8M guaranteed. Delanie has been one of the most underrated players on the team. This deal will take a 3M hit to the salary cap.
SF can have as much as 22M in Cap Space, enough to resign Dashon Goldson and Delanie Walker and be active in the offseason. An important note is that SF also has 27 players retained through 2014 that accounts for half of a predicted 128M salary cap in 2014, so SF can pour costs over to 2014, if needed. With a stacked roster, plenty of cash and 14 draft picks, look for SF to go after big names in the off season.
By: Joel Ayon
Date: February 9, 2013 at 9:15 AM
Comment: Yeah ship them both to the eagles, their going to beast . Alex Smith was going to that next level , bad move to bench him. Eagles would be perfect for him , second arizona
Date: February 9, 2013 at 8:14 AM
Comment: Jim and his staff have to hang this loss on themselves. Gore's a stud and should have been utilized at that goal line play. Now having said that Jim let slip away a great special te am player in Castanza, I think that's how you spell it. He was a terror on special teams and we let him go,WHY? Also Jim and and his staff made numerous errors on getting his team prepared for the biggest game of their careers. We seem to have a problem deciding which plays to call. Don't they script their plays. What the heck is the problem calling the right play. Colin seemed confused alot on what they wanted executed. This team is awsome we just need the coaches to get their stuff together. I never seen Walsh to confused. The forty-niner teams then were a wrecking machine starting with Walsh. I'd like to see a devestating DL added and a cover corner. We can get a wr in free agency. And perhaps a future r/b. Just my observation.
Date: February 9, 2013 at 6:06 AM
Comment: I would have to say not a big Alex Smith at all, however, it is best to have a semi good quarterback as a back. It is always good to use both of them in different areas that they are best at. Two is better than one and will ultimately make for a better team.
Date: February 8, 2013 at 6:07 AM
Comment: Good analysis on the cap space insight.My question is what happens when Colin gets hurt and there's no legit backup to step in..like an Alex Smith.Colin's style of play can be an injury waiting to happen--the Niners need Alex more than Alex needs the Niners.
By: Zach Ameen
Date: February 7, 2013 at 7:31 PM
Comment: My 49ers lost and I didn't have the heart to come to 49ers websites. Finally I got over it today.
1- Keep Alex Smith and use both QBs as a double punch with different pace of performance, especially in red Zone.
2- keep Akers and find someone in a Draft to train
3- Sign 2 vertical threat recievers (Wallace or Victor cruz or someone comparable. Find one in a draft)
4- Find a line backer like justin Smith either in a draft or through free agency
5- find two good either in a draft or through free agency
6- find one more defensive end (Cantee is available)
7- Find a powerful fullback
8- Improvement is needed on special team, Bring eith Castanzo back or some one like castanzo.
9- Start using third TE Garrett CELEK more because he has great hands and natural route runner. He reminded me of Brent jones but a better version. He really impressed me as a player.
Date: February 7, 2013 at 6:24 PM
Comment: I would love to see David Akers back with the Eagles for the 2013-2014 season.
Date: February 7, 2013 at 9:49 AM
Comment: Thanks for the breakdown, I had been wondering where we stand with the cap. I'd like to see Sop stay as well. He was solid all year. Also it seems that Alex should bring something in a trade, maybe a pick or two for 2014, but I like the idea of bundling some of those 14 picks to move up and go for quality not quantity. The roster is already pretty loaded so not all rookies will make the squad. How about trading Alex & Carlos for Revis...would that fly? Having a lock down CB like Revis would make the D scary. Imagine if he was on Boldin all game instead of Cully.
Date: February 7, 2013 at 4:44 AM
Comment: Could probably look at the release of J. Goodwin, trade of a running back and another being picked up in the draft. They will address the receiver position either through free agency or the draft. Big names free agents are Wallace and Welker.
Date: February 7, 2013 at 4:16 AM
Comment: just a few other notes I read from various sources. Ahmad Brooks didn't reach some incentives in his contract and the 49ers are supposed to be credited with some cap space. Also, I'd expect Parys Haralson to be released. He is taking up $2 million in cap room
Date: February 7, 2013 at 2:49 AM
Comment: I am not sure which "big names" they should go after. Some secondary help would be nice. I wouldn't mind another WR. I always think there is no room for another receiver but come playoff time the team has been short. Another rotational d-lineman would be good and of course a kicker. Last year I thought they could never match those results but they did one better. This team should be Super Bowl champs, everyone says they shouldn't have let it be so close that the refs decided the game but the Ravens relied on that no call just as much. It still makes me sick, I wish I didn't care so much.
By: Alex Castaneda
Date: February 7, 2013 at 1:06 AM
Comment: I feel like we played an awesome fuckin season an we're definitely on the right track!! Kaepernick has performed extremely well considering he'd only played 6 games this season.......... Give him this season under his belt with each of our inividually unique players to bring this franchise's newest weapon like fami I feel like we played an awesome season an we're definitely on the right track!! Kaepernick has performed extremely well considering he'd only played 6 games this season.......... Give him this season under his belt with each of our inividually unique players to bring this franchise's newest weapon like family and come out next season with vigilance and show this world wh o's real champions are!!!! "Go NINERS"
By: Greg Harms
Date: February 6, 2013 at 11:50 PM
Comment: We need to seal the deal with Goldson, and if Davis' contract is restructured then I would re-think walker for resigning. I would rather keep Sopoaga, and try to seek out another receiver or corner.
By: Das Dweeb
Date: February 6, 2013 at 10:18 PM
Comment: Well, except that Harbaalke have yet to acquire a single "big" name during their tenure. They've reportedly flirted with whomever the biggest was out there (Nnamdi, Peyton) but always fallen back on cheaper, more deeply scouted options that allowed them to maintain their salary structure (Whitner, Rogers). What big names would they go after this offseason? Mike Wallace? Wes Welker? Doesn't sound like their style. Maybe one of those stud DL (Johnson, Melton, Avril - maybe Seymour)?
I'd love to see them pick up a stud DL who fits (read: justifies) Fangio's scheme and trade (Alex picks, maybe Culliver) for a star CB or high enough draft position to land an impact WR. We have 14 picks; hopefully we should be able to put together an attractive enough package to walk away from this offseason with difference-makers at DL, CB, and WR.
Easy for me to say ...
Date: February 6, 2013 at 9:39 PM
Comment: Sounds good to me!
Date: February 6, 2013 at 9:14 PM
Comment: I agree with everything except a couple things:
1. Carlos Rogers should definitely not be released or traded, he had a GREAT first season with us. Yes his 2012 season wasn't the greatest, but that doesn't mean next year won't be good.
2. Some of the other free agents should be resigned. Larry Grant, Isaac Sopoaga, and Ted Ginn.
-Everyone seems to have forgotten how well Larry Grant did while filling in for P.Willis last season. We should definitely draft someone to compete for the job but don't let him go to another team just yet.
-Isaac Sopoaga, I don't know what there is to say besides "Give that guy a contract" He's a great player to put in when any of our DL players are tired.
-Ted Ginn is an iffy one, I'm not saying its a no brainer, because we can definitely bring in someone else to replace him, but unless we can sign or draft another great return man, he's a sure resign. The only other good return man that we have on the team is LaMichael James... and Kyle Williams if you consider what he did while he was healthy during the 2012 season not 2011. We need to consider that special teams is what screwed us over these past two seasons !
Date: February 6, 2013 at 8:31 PM
Comment: Issac is a MUST sign. Our dline has no depth. I think Walker will go just because he wants to be start and be featured. I agree Goldson is a must sign to. I also like Ricky for depth as well.
By: mike Lujan
Date: February 6, 2013 at 7:24 PM
Comment: Can we pick up Greg Jennings for the Green Bay Packers
Date: February 6, 2013 at 5:51 PM
Comment: Good analysis, but didn't Davis restructure his contract for Bowman's extension this year?
By: Steve King
Date: February 6, 2013 at 4:58 PM
Comment: Ricky Jean Francois should be the third player resigned. We are THIN on the D-line and I feel that RJF did a great job filling in for Sopo. I hope we sign at least two more D-linemen to the team for 2013. We were lucky that we didn't have a major injury this year to our starters on the d-line. IF we had lost J. Smith to injury for the season, there may have been no Super Bowl for us!
Date: February 6, 2013 at 4:17 PM
Comment: According to John Clayton http://espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/2012/story/_/id/8822266/nfl-mailbag-carryover-rules-impact-cap-strategy
the 49ers have 3.9 million in cap space before they make any move. I agree with you that Alex and David have to go to open up more cap space and that Dashon Goldson has to be resigned to a long term deal.
Here's where I don't agree. Carlos Rogers isn't going anywhere either. He just signed a 4 year deal last offseason and doesn't really need to renegotiate. I agree I would like to see Delanie Walker come back but have a feeling he would like to somewhere and be the feature tightend instead of sit behind Vernon his whole career. I see the franchise tag being used on either Sopoaga or Walker. I think renegotiating Justin Smith's contract for 2-4 years would be smart.
Date: February 6, 2013 at 4:06 PM
Comment: Good read and thanks for doing it but I'm still struggling with this loss so I'm sorry if I don't say more
Date: February 6, 2013 at 3:56 PM
Comment: Nice rundown BV! Very helpful as we start thinking about the draft and looking at the free agent pool.
Do you think the 49ers will look at marrying picks and money to go after free agents this spring? Will that happen before or after the draft?
Date: February 6, 2013 at 3:50 PM
Comment: Not sure about giving Kaep that deal just yet. After next season. Hard to imagine the front office not putting in a lot of effort in locking up Crabtree this year. He's a FA in 2014.
Date: February 6, 2013 at 3:36 PM
Comment: Nice analysis. However, Kap will not be extended this offseason. The CBA prohibits doing so until after the 3rd year.