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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Restructuring DT Arik Armstead would be a mistake for the 49ers

Rohan Chakravarthi
Feb 25, 2023 at 3:00 PM--

Ahead of free agency, the San Francisco 49ers are looking to increase their cap space, which currently stands at around $8 million, while they have over impending 20 free agents.

One option that has surfaced today has been a potential restructure for Arik Armstead, whose cap hit currently stands at $23.9 million for the 2023 season, as the 49ers could convert his $15.89 million base salary into a signing bonus, creating space for the upcoming season, while pushing money back into the future.

However, making that move would be a mistake for the organization, and here's why.

Arik Armstead's contract

Arik Armstead currently has two more non-void years on his contract, as he will have cap hits of $23.9 million in 2023 and $25.8 million in 2024, while the defensive tackle currently holds a dead cap charge of $6.7 million in 2025 and $2.6 million in 2026.

The 49ers have already restructured Armstead's contract, converting $13.03 million of his 2022 base salary into a signing bonus, which pushed some money back into the 2023 and 2024 seasons, while creating void years on the contract, which are years that the 49ers are charged money for, but the player isn't under contract.

Many have claimed that Armstead's cap hits are too high over the next two seasons, justifying that as a reason for a restructure.

However, the reason that Armstead's cap hits are currently high for 2023 and 2024 is that the 49ers have already restructured his deal, and doing the deed once more would only push money further into later years, when San Francisco will be on the hook for even bigger deals, such as Nick Bosa's expected extension, and even a potential quarterback deal.

However, the even bigger reason to let Armstead's contract remain as is....

Other options

The 49ers don't only have one contract that can be restructured in 2022, but rather several different candidates that can fit the mold, and do so better than Armstead due to the extended length of their deals, age, and extension chances in the future.

Christian McCaffrey is a prime restructure candidate, as he possesses a $12 million cap hit for each of the next three seasons, but holds no guaranteed money on the remainder of his contract.

Restructuring McCaffrey's deal makes complete sense for both sides, as it would allow McCaffrey a chance to earn more guaranteed money as he enters his prime, while the 49ers can lower his base salary for 2022, creating significant cap space for the offseason. Moreover, it's been clear that both sides want a reunion in this deal.

If the 49ers restructure McCaffrey's deal and provide him a base salary of $1.035 million, the league minimum, in 2022, his cap hit of $12 million will, almost assuredly, decrease, depending on the signing bonus he earns.

Additionally, Fred Warner seems like a prime restructure candidate.

The star linebacker is only 26 years old, while he still has four years remaining on his deal, with a potential extension coming before the end of the contract, given the unique structuring of his deal.

With him being at a prime age, as well as the contract having significant duration, the 49ers could restructure his contract, converting his $12.925 million salary into a signing bonus, while spreading that cap hit over the next five years, creating a small dead cap charge in 2027.

That move could save the 49ers around $10 million in 2023, and is a more logical move than restructuring Armstead.

Next, the 49ers could look to restructure cornerback Charvarius Ward's contract, as the cornerback has two more years on his current deal, and could also be an extension candidate to lock in the No. 1 cornerback through his prime.

Ward's low signing bonuses and minimal void cap hits make him a solid restructure candidate as well, as San Francisco has flexibility with his "team-friendly" deal.

Ward holds a base salary of $13.56 million in 2022, where the 49ers could save around $10 million again, creating ample cap space for the offseason if needed.

Lastly, the 49ers will likely save some money this offseason when they extend Nick Bosa to a massive extension, as surprising as that sounds.


Bosa had his fifth-year option picked up last offseason, which means he currently holds a cap hit of $17.86 million for 2023, which should be lowered once an extension is signed, even one of his caliber.

While the finalized cap number will be dependent on Bosa's cap hit, the 49ers could generate another $8-10 million in cap space with that move, potentially saving around $40 million total with the overall moves that I've listed, placing the 49ers near $45-50 million for the 2023 offseason.


With restructures, it's important that the 49ers retain some flexibility to set themselves up for success, not only in the current timeframe, but also the next few seasons, and the moves listed above complete that task to a better degree than a restructure for Arik Armstead, who already holds significant cap hits over the next two seasons, and may not be a prime extension candidate at age-32.

Should the 49ers restructure Armstead and then sign a big-name free agent along the defensive line, it would limit their flexibility over the next two seasons, as they would essentially be paying top money to three different defensive linemen, rather than the two if they let Armstead's contract remain as is, and expire at the end of the 2024 season.

With several options on the table that are more team-friendly, it would be a mistake to touch Arik Armstead's cap hit and continue pushing that money toward the future, even if it means creating more cap space in the current timeframe.
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.

1 Comment

  • BigAl
    Yea Idk who suggested that but like alot of 49er coverage its complete nonsense.
    Feb 25, 2023 at 3:43 PM


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