With the 2013 NFL offseason under way and signings happening as we speak, I want to take a look into the future about 2 offseasons from now, when the 49ers have some work to do.
In the 2015 offseason, the 49ers have key free agents that they need to decide on, most notably, Colin Kaepernick, Aldon Smith, Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati, Michael Crabtree, and Chris Culliver. Some can be extended now, but players like Kaepernick, Smith, Culliver, and 2011 draft picks like Daniel Kilgore, Kendall Hunter and Bruce Miller must wait until after 2013, per the new CBA agreement.
On top of all those free agents, the 49ers will need to also worry about 4 others. 2 are long time 49ers, Brian Jennings and Frank Gore, along with newest 49ers, Glenn Dorsey and Dan Skuta. Jennings has recently made it known that he wishes to play well into his mid 40's, while Gore isn't getting any younger. And what happens if Dorsey and Skuta both amaze and become key parts on their respective parts of the team?
As of publishing, the 49ers have only 16 players signed for 2015 and would be around $57 million under a projected $125 million salary cap limit. That may not seem like a lot -- well -- because it isn't a lot. However, factor in that Carlos Rogers likely won't be playing under his current 2015 salary by then, which is well over $9 million. Plus, players like Joe Staley ($4.5 million base salary), Ahmad Brooks ($6 million base), and Patrick Willis ($7.605 million base) have high salaries that could be adjusted to help out by extending them.
This calculation DOES NOT include projected cap pool for 2013 and 2014 draft picks, which as we know, are not fluid and the number of picks cannot be gauged nor can we estimate how much money will be spent on them.
The biggest worry is who the 49ers put a priority on. They need their star in the making, QB Colin Kaepernick, extended. They also need to make sure they keep their offensive line intact, and the pass rush of Aldon Smith stays put. But what about Michael Crabtree? He has proven in the past 2 seasons, that he can be a #1 WR. Will the 49ers pay what other teams have been paying top flight WRs? That is in the $10 million a year and more range.
We could see a dramatic change in the way the 49ers look 2 years from now. The 49ers have worries after 2013, namely Justin Smith and Tarell Brown, but those are easy signings as both cold be extended now in order to provide cap relief up front. They could also simply take 1 of them, and front load a deal to help in 2015 and 2016 when the cap numbers for the mentioned players would be high.
I have always said that the 49ers are fine with the cap, but the problem is keeping their own talent around. We saw this offseason how 4 players got what many, including myself, believe were overpaid salaries. So imagine what will happen as other teams poach us of our top talent if the cap rises more. The cap should rise, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will.
So if people believe 2013 was bad, wait for 2015 when we could lose much more and it will be even tougher to stay atop the division.
For more Salary Cap information, please visit, NinerCapHell.com, and my twitter feed, @AB83Rules