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Next move? 49ers have $25.25 million in cap space, per OTC

Jun 2, 2024 at 4:44 PM


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Everything became official today. As reported yesterday, the remaining savings from defensive tackle Arik Armstead's release bumped the San Francisco 49ers' salary cap space from about $8.24 million to a healthy $25.25 million, according to salary cap site OverTheCap.com. That's a $17 million increase overnight.

In March, the 49ers designated Armstead as a post-June 1 release. While the defensive lineman was allowed to immediately sign with another team, the post-June 1 designation offered the 49ers some salary-cap flexibility.

Initially, Armstead was set to count about $28.4 million against the 49ers' 2024 salary cap. Despite his release, he still carries approximately $10.31 million in dead money for 2024 and $15.55 million for 2025, per OverTheCap.com.

The 49ers' current cap space ranks 11th in the NFL, with the New England Patriots leading the pack with approximately $46.44 million.

What will the 49ers do with this newfound financial flexibility? Al Sacco, from the "No Huddle Podcast," suggests strengthening the defensive backfield, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a Super Bowl-contending core.

"As long as they have this core here, it's Super Bowl or bust," Sacco stated. "So, to me, that safety group is a little bit worrisome. If [Talanoa] Hufanga doesn't come back, he's not Hufanga, or he takes a step back, that's a huge blow to them because you got the rookie (Malik Mustapha), and again, you have [George] Odum, who's more of a special teams guy, and Ji'Ayir Brown's a huge question."

Sacco added, "I feel better with [free agent] Justin Simmons in there. Bring a vet in, former All-Pro, Pro Bowler. You have this team that's looking to win the Super Bowl again this year. You got to bring in a guy like that."


Considering the increased salary cap space that starting quarterback Brock Purdy will soon consume, the 49ers might be tempted to hold onto a significant portion of the unused funds. The team rolled over about $38 million of last season's unused money into 2024 and could pursue a similar strategy next year to preserve their core.

"Really, we always look at the cap for three years out," general manager John Lynch said last season. "Obviously, we have all that room this year. But really, it's to create room for future years because we roll everything over. It helps us in future years because it creates some room we're going to need."

Regardless, tough decisions lie ahead. The Athletic's Matt Barrows recently stated that the 49ers likely trust that the future financial concerns will resolve themselves.

"There will be some guys who move on," Barrows said during a radio interview. "[T] Trent Williams, no one knows how long he's going to play. It sure seems as if they're going to be saying goodbye to one of their big-time wide receivers next season, and in all likelihood, it's going to be Deebo Samuel.

"I don't know how many more years [FB] Kyle Juszczyk is going to play. So I think there will be some relief with people retiring, with people with outs in certain players' contracts and things like that."

Barrows added, "But to me, it's not even 2025. I mean, it's '26, '27, which is where you're sort of kicking the can down the road with the thought that, okay, the salary cap goes up every year. We're banking on it going up a certain percentage for 2027. That has to happen. And so far, it's been a steady rise and a bigger rise than anticipated each year. That's what the 49ers are banking on."

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