Salary cap space
As of March 17, 2021, the 49ers are projected to have $27,376,301 in cap space for 2021.
The 49ers rolled over $1.9 million in 2020 cap space.
March 10 update: The salary cap has been set at $182.5 million.
The San Francisco 49ers season is a wrap and the process is underway to rebound from a disappointing 2020 season. Injuries ravaged the roster and it resulted in a 6-10 season a year removed from a trip to the Super Bowl.
The 49ers have numerous decisions to make thanks to 40 free agents and a crunch against the NFL’s salary cap. The organization would face some tough decisions in any year with that many free agents, but 2021 brings an extra wrinkly with a salary cap that will be deflated.
The NFL powered through its 2020 season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The league played without fans in most stadiums, and limited fans in a handful of locations. The decrease in gate revenue is going to result in a decrease in money shared between the 32 teams. This in turn means the salary cap is expected to decrease. The NFL and NFLPA agreed to a salary cap of no lower than $175 million. The latest report has the number landing between $180 and $181 million, which is a good bit lower than the $198.2 million of this past season. This will result in some tough choices for many teams.
All salary cap information below comes courtesy of the NFLPA Public Salary Cap Report.
The biggest question revolves around Jimmy Garoppolo. He is due $24.1 million in base salary in 2021 with a cap hit of $26,900,000. Head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have said he is their guy for 2021, but also hedged by saying that was the case unless they found somebody better. If the 49ers release Garoppolo, they would save his $24.1 million base salary in cap space.
Two significant cap figures they could clean up belong to defensive lineman Dee Ford and center Weston Richburg. Both were hurt this season, with Ford playing one game and Richburg playing none. If the 49ers release Ford they would save $6.4 million in cap space and if they designated him a June 1 cut, they would save $16 million. If they release Richburg, they would save $4.9 million in cap space and if they designated him a June 1 cut, they would save $8.35 million.
The 2017 draft class just finished its fourth year, which means first round picks could be on their fifth year option in 2021. Those will result in some renegotiations for cap space. The 49ers declined Solomon Thomas’ option and released Reuben Foster before they had to make a decision on his option.