Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


Stevie Johnson and the salary cap impact

Feb 28, 2015 at 1:35 PM6


Earlier in the week, it was speculated that the San Francisco 49ers might look to restructure the contract of Stevie Johnson or even release the wide receiver in order to create more room under the salary cap. The final numbers for the salary cap have not been announce, but it is estimated that it would be set at about $143 million for each team, which much higher than the amount estimated back in December.

Earlier today, NBC anchor Dianna Marie Russini reported that, per sources, the 49ers plan to release wide receiver Stevie Johnson in a salary cap saving move. That roster move would create an extra $6.025 million with no dead money in extra cap room.

Then NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the team actually wants Johnson to take a pay cut. The threat of a release may simply be a notice to Johnson and his agent to take a pay cut or be gone. Reports state that the team had not yet approached either about a possible pay cut.

Johnson, who was acquired via a trade prior to the NFL Draft in 2014, could be released immediately since there is no impact whether he is let go now or post-June 1. The amount in savings would be the same. He is due to make $5.5 million in base salary plus another $525,000 in bonuses and the team had hoped to get that number down after trading for him in 2014.

While it would be nice to retain a player of Johnson's caliber and it sounds like the team is still hoping to do so, his release alone would clear up the required money to sign any rookies drafted at the end of April. The team needs to have at least $5.1 million in cap space to account for the projected draft pick compensation.

According to Pro Football Focus, Johnson was targeted 49 times in 2014. He had 35 receptions for 435 yards and three touchdowns. That's a 102.0 passer rating on throws in his direction.

Despite being in contact with his agent, the 49ers are likely to lose wide receiver Michael Crabtree to free agency. Brandon Lloyd is also a free agent. The loss of Crabtree, Johnson and Lloyd would create a very pressing need at receiver. One that will likely be addressed in the draft.

Another move that the 49ers could look to make would be reducing the cap impact of linebacker Patrick Willis. Willis is scheduled to make just over $7 million in base salary with a $8.3 million cap hit. Much of that could be converted to a signing bonus which would create a lot more cap room.

Willis missed much of last season after opting for season ending surgery on his toe.

It would not make sense to release linebacker Ahmad Brooks, which the team is expected to do, prior to June 1 because the team would save more by waiting until that date. They could release him before then and simply designate him as a June 1 cut, but his salary would still stay on the books until that date.

The team could also look to convert the majority of quarterback Colin Kaepernick's $10.4 million base salary into a signing bonus, saving even more money against the cap.

With these moves and possibly others, the 49ers could be in a very healthy position to make some acquisitions in free agency and solidify their financial needs for the NFL Draft.
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.


6 Comments

  • 50 year FORMER faithful
    I think we see the demise of the 49ers and mediocrity as the norm. The salary cap only adds another dimension to further incapacitate and expose ownership. With incompetent ownership and capricious decision making no sensible agent would look at san francisco as a destination for his clients. When you couple York mismanagement and repeat incompetence with the high cost of housing and cost of living, high taxes, and generally lower earning potential as a result no fool would be dumb enough to think that joining the 49ers is the smart football decision. No amount of Praag math will make SF more attractive than lower tax states and cheaper better opportunity places to live. It is draft of bust for the 49ers and so it's back to baalke and his loos lipped gang of divisive minions. He got Harbaugh flushed and now has the keys to the kingdom while boy blunder focus' on soccer Oh yeah, I forgot, they dont give a rats a$$ about winning. It's winning with cla$$. Yeah right. So glad I told the York to take his PSL seat license fee$ and Candlestick them up his silver spoon fed a$$. NOT ANOTHER DIME UNTIL THEY $ELL
    Mar 4, 2015 at 12:57 PM
    0
  • Leo
    I think rj has been playing way too much Madden '15
    Mar 3, 2015 at 11:47 AM
    0
  • 50 Year FORMER faithful
    We now get to see whether disloyal Baalke and the balding spoiled ricky stratton can pull a rabbit out of the hat and prove that they are anything other than incompetent disloyal ignoble bags of douche that only know how to make losers out of winners. Just like the Dr. I mean dentist. I hear that in his dental clinic they play reruns of York football. Worse than pullin teeth
    Mar 3, 2015 at 11:22 AM
    0
  • rj
    2015 Lineup Qb: Kaepernick,hundley,joshson Rb: Gore,Hyde,hunter, or cobb Wr. Boldin,Patton,Ellington,J.Maclin or Dorial green beckham possibility. Te. V.davis, v.mcdonald, d.carrier, imagine an Jordan cameron FA pickup!!! But i"ll go with a small school college te in the draft tho. Defense: Le: Aldon smith,quinton dial,brian orakpo nice FA pickup if it were to play out that way.... or maybe they could snag dante fowler. Re: Aaron lynch, C.lemonaire, how about we snag greg hardy up while if we can. Lbs: Willis,Bowman,Borland,Aj hawk Nick moody Dbs: Johnson,Brock,Acker,Blackmon,P.j williams Safetys: Reid,Bethea,Merriweather, rookie draft pick Special teams: Trindon holday jacoby jones rookie draft pick
    Feb 28, 2015 at 9:23 PM
    0
  • Tom
    I'd like to see them let Crabtree and Lloyd walk, and try to get Johnson back at the right price and then look for someone in the draft. I'd like to see what Patton and Ellington have to offer, though they seem like sort of the same player. You've got to love Patton's enthusiasm but I worry about his maturity. Ellington seems a little more grounded.
    Feb 28, 2015 at 3:33 PM
    0
  • Nick
    Good job.
    Feb 28, 2015 at 1:51 PM
    0

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