Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Breer: 49ers projected to have $28 million in salary-cap space

Mar 8, 2021 at 2:27 PM--

The news keeps getting better for the San Francisco 49ers. Only eight NFL teams have more salary-cap space available than the Bay Area organization. Last week, reported that the team's cap space had jumped by about $11 million to $23.5 million. That figure was based on a salary cap projection of $180.5 million—a very conservative estimate given it is just $500,000 over the floor that the NFL and NFLPA recently set.

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reports an even better figure for the 49ers, which offers more breathing room for a team that could lose several free agents but still hopes to find ways to improve. Breer is working with a more aggressive $183 million salary cap projection and has the 49ers sitting with $28.02 million in available money as of Sunday morning. It is unknown if that includes Friday's re-signings of tight end Ross Dwelley and safety Marcell Harris.

The figure is before any potential cost-savings moves, like roster cuts or contract restructures, so the team could free up even more money, if necessary.

Nine teams are currently over the projected salary cap, including the Los Angeles Rams, who Breer estimates must trim about $26 million by next week. The Seattle Seahawks are projected to have $6.23 million in cap space, while the Arizona Cardinals could have $14.95 million available.

Below are Breer's salary cap space estimates for each NFL team, based on numbers from the league. It doesn't include agreed-upon trades that have not been made official, like Matthew Stafford going from the Detroit Lions to the Rams.

1. Jaguars: $86.42
2. Jets: $78.96 million
3. Colts: $70.89 million
4. Patriots: $68.74 million
5. Washington: $56.77 million
6. Broncos: $45.48 million
7. Bengals: $42.55 million
8. Panthers: $31.25 million
9. 49ers: $28.02 million
10. Chargers: $25.60 million
11. Dolphins: $24.34 million
12. Browns: $22.85 million
13. Cowboys: $21.78 million
14. Ravens: $19.61 million
15. Texans: $18.18 million
16. Buccaneers: $15.06 million
17. Cardinals: $14.95 million
18. Lions: $13.60 million
19. Giants: $7.61 million
20. Titans: $6.33 million
21. Seahawks: $6.23 million
22. Steelers: $5.33 million
23. Bills: $3.59 million
24. Vikings: minus-$4.94 million
25. Raiders: minus-$7.01 million
26. Bears: minus-$7.45 million
27. Packers: minus-$9.66 million
28. Falcons: minus-$17.84 million
29. Chiefs: minus-$21.11 million
30. Rams: minus-$26.26 million
31. Eagles: minus-$29.73 million
32. Saints: minus-$46.22 million

Of course, none of this will be certain until the league finalizes the salary cap limit. That won't happen until after new media deals are complete and announced. However, that could happen as early as this week. There is also uncertainty about the upcoming season and how many fans will attend games in-person amid potential COVID-19 restrictions. That could also impact salary-cap calculations.

Breer does note that the 49ers could save more money by parting ways with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who the team has stated is expected to be on the roster come September. The Sports Illustrated writer names San Francisco as an intriguing potential destination for New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold.

"Darnold's a strong fit for Kyle Shanahan's offense," wrote Breer, "and trading for him would make the Niners six years younger, and $20 million cheaper at the position in 2020. The Niners like Jimmy Garoppolo, as we've said here, and won't move off him without a clear upgrade. Could Darnold be that?"

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