It was reported today by ESPN's Dianna Marie Russini that San Francisco 49ers T Joe Staley re-worked his contract, creating cap room by turning $4 million of his $5.4 million base salary into a signing bonus.
49ers redid OT Joe Staley's contract, creating cap room turning 4 million of his 5.4 base into a signing bonus per source.— Dianna Marie Russini (@diannaESPN) March 2, 2016
However, Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reports that the conversion of option bonus to signing bonus was simply procedural and doesn't change Staley's earnings or the team's cap space for 2016.
League source: Joe Staley's conversion of option bonus to signing bonus was procedural. There's no change to cash or #49ers cap for 2016.— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) March 2, 2016
Staley is currently signed through the 2019 season. He is within his 6-year, $44,650,000 contract with $11,460,000 guaranteed that was signed in 2014. That guaranteed amount is what likely changed with the re-working of his deal.
The 49ers are expected to have around $55 million in cap space once free agency kicks off on March 9. Staley, who turns 32 in August, was the 49ers' 28th overall selection in the 2007 NFL Draft.
The 49ers offensive line took a huge step backwards this past season following the losses of Anthony Davis, who abruptly retired, and Mike Iupati, who signed with the Arizona Cardinals. "There's a good chance the 49ers address the offensive line early in the draft, perhaps with the seventh pick where Notre Dame's Ronnie Stanley could be available," says Chris Biderman of Niners Wire.