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Cap casualties: How the 49ers can free up significant money

Mar 7, 2022 at 9:31 PM


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The 2022 NFL Scouting Combine has ended, and before the draft, NFL teams will have a chance to improve by adding players via the free agency period. However, some teams will have to release players to get under the salary cap. According to Spotrac.com, the salary cap is expected to increase to $208.2 million. Some NFL teams have already released players, like linebacker Kyle Van Noy from the New England Patriots and tight end Kyle Rudolph from the New York Giants. These two players are cap casualties.

According to Spotrac.com, the San Francisco 49ers currently have 43 players under contract and have spent $206.8 million. They have $2.95 million to pay once the new league year begins on March 16. The obvious way for the 49ers to free up cap space is trading or releasing players.

Let's look at quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's contract. In 2022, he is set to earn $26.95 million. He has a dead cap of $1.4 million. If the 49ers trade him, they will trade his contract and get the amount adjusted into the team's salary cap. This money will give the 49ers some wiggle room when signing free agents and draft picks.

There are two players on the 49ers that could be potential cap casualties. The first player is Garoppolo. The 49ers have the option of releasing him and only paying $1.4 million. By removing Garoppolo's salary, San Francisco will save an estimated $25.5 million against the salary cap. If the 49ers are looking for money to extend players like wide receiver Deebo Samuel and pass rusher Nick Bosa, clearing Garoppolo's hefty salary will go a long way to creating more cap space.

The second player is defensive end Samson Ebukam. The Los Angeles Rams drafted Ebukam in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. The 49ers signed him to a two-year, $12 million deal. Ebukam is on the books for $8.25 million in 2022. The dead cap number is $1.75 million. Releasing him will save the 49ers $6.5 million. It may not be much money, but every little bit counts.

By releasing these two players—or in the case of Garoppolo, potentially trading—the 49ers could enter the 2022 season with over $30 million. San Francisco made it clear that it was ready to move from Garoppolo. In the 2021 draft, the 49ers traded up with the Miami Dolphins to secure their future quarterback—Trey Lance.

As far as Ebukam goes, it would hurt to lose great depth. However, this move would be a business move, nothing personal. The 49ers could replace Ebukam by drafting a much cheaper option in the draft and deal with that payday later.

Will the 49ers have any cap casualties? Who would you consider?
  • Written by:
    Wayne Breezie is a 49ers content creator. He had his first guest appearance on Ronbosports in 2012. He began writing for a Facebook group called the League of the 49ers. Next, he began writing for Nothing But Niners in 2017. In 2018, Wayne Breezie made his debut on YouTube’s Nothing But Niners show. In 2019, he started his podcast called Nitty Gritty Niners. After putting the pen down for several years, Breezie saw an opportunity to write for 49erscap.com. His first published article was in January of 2022 with 49ersCap, and he currently writes and produces weekly podcasts.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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