Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

49ers to save cap space with impending Weston Richburg retirement

Jun 1, 2021 at 2:25 PM--

June 1st has finally arrived. It may be an ordinary day, but in the football world, it is a very important day, because post-June 1st NFL roster additions and cuts can be made with favorable cap implications.

Teams can now spread the "dead money" charge incurred from cutting a player over the course of two years, rather than one year, helping franchises with a lesser amounts of cap space.

Last Tuesday, during his press conference, Kyle Shanahan confirmed the long-held belief that center Weston Richburg was retiring due to injuries instead of returning to the 49ers in 2021.

Richburg was drafted in the second round by the New York Giants in the 2014 NFL Draft. In 2018, Richburg signed with the 49ers on a five-year, $47.5 million deal.

The center missed all of 2020 due to hip and knee injuries, and has had three surgeries, on his shoulder, knee, and hip, which likely attributed to his early retirement.

The Athletic's Dave Lombardi pointed out that Richburg's retirement post-June 1st will save the 49ers $1.075 million in cap space for the 2021 season, while also saving $3.5 million in dead cap space.

In addition, the move will free up necessary cap space in 2022, as $9.15 million will come off the books with Richburg's retirement.

While an official statement hasn't come out regarding Richburg's retirement, due to the salary-cap implications, Shanahan's statement practically confirms that the move will happen, which will leave the 49ers with extra cap room for a potential Fred Warner extension.

In a corresponding move, the 49ers signed linebacker James Burgess, who will officially sign a contract sometime this week, once the Weston Richburg retirement becomes official.

However, there is not a clear spot for him yet on the 53-man roster, as the linebacker corps is one of the deeper position groups for the 49ers with Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, Azeez Al-Shaair, Demetrius Flanagan-Fowles, undrafted rookie Justin Hilliard, and newly signed veteran Nathan Gerry.

Still, Burgess has experience, playing with the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, and Green Bay Packers from 2017-2020.

Expect an official statement regarding the two moves any time after the 1pm PT deadline today.

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