Christian McCaffrey among potential 49ers contract restructures this offseason

 With the San Francisco 49ers season now over, the focus becomes how the team can improve for 2023. Over the coming days and weeks there will be plenty of discussion about the big names who should be signed in free agency and which positions should be targeted in the draft.

The 49ers are currently $11.2 million under the 2023 salary cap which is expected to be $236.2 million. San Francisco’s top 51 contracts must be under the salary cap total by the start of the new league year on March 15. Currently San Francisco has only 44 players signed to contracts for next season. Eleven of those were just signed last week to reserve/future contracts.

San Francisco will need to free up cap space to create room to fill out its roster. The team has several key starters including Mike McGlinchey, Jake Brendel, and Samson Ebukam among its 26 impending free agents.

One of the ways teams create cap space is through working with players to restructure their contracts. Here are five possible targets this offseason:

Trent Williams: 2023 Cap Hit – 27,227,424

Williams is a stalwart along the 49ers offensive line. Coming off his second consecutive All-Pro season Williams is the best left tackle in the game.

The only hold up with restructuring Williams’ contract is age. His current deal runs through 2026 when he will be 38.

San Francisco could gain up to $14.181 million in cap space with a reworked deal.

Arik Armstead: 2023 Cap Hit – $23,993,059

Armstead restructured his contract last offseason, saving the 49ers $10.424 million in cap space.

San Francisco could look to the veteran defensive tackle to gain as much as $11.328 million in cap space again this offseason.

Coming off an injury plagued season, Armstead made several key plays over the second half leading to turnovers. Armstead also recorded a pair of sacks two during the 49ers playoff run.

Fred Warner: 2023 Cap Hit – $18,525,000

Warner in entering year three of the extension he signed prior to 2021. The linebacker will turn 27 next November.

Coming off a season which saw him named First Team All-Pro for the second time in his career, Warner is a prime candidate to rework his contract. This could save the 49ers up to $9.191 million for next season.

George Kittle: 2023 Cap Hit – $18,033,757

As with Arik Armstead, Kittle and the 49ers worked out a contract restructure last offseason. By converting $10.415 million of salary into a signing bonus, and adding a void year on the back end, the parties were able to free up $8.33 million.

If they decide to go back to the well for a second time, San Francisco could save as much as $9.715 million by reworking the contract of the four-time Pro Bowl tight end.

Despite missing the first two weeks of the regular season dealing with a groin injury, Kittle had a career high 11 touchdown receptions.

Christian McCaffrey: 2023 Cap Hit – $12,000,000

San Francisco inherited a base salary of $11.8 million for the 2023 season with their midseason trade for McCaffrey. By converting the base salary to signing bonus McCaffrey’s cap number could drop by $7.28 million.

McCaffrey posted 1,210 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns following the trade. The former Stanford Cardinal will be a key piece moving forward for the 49ers offense.

This article has 43 Comments

  1. Jack,
    What are the down sides to restructuring these 5 contracts? Does it push back their cap hits to later years? I have been saying for a while that unless they are able to restructure at least 3 of the afore mentioned contracts that this could be a very painful off season.

    1. Yes, usually it means converting non-guaranteed money into a signing bonus and spreading it out further down the life of the contract. So you end up paying the piper later.

      1. What ends up happening is alot of the salary can convert to a bonus. The niners when all said and done will probably be 35 million over the cap, unless they feel this years free agency players suck If so then they will extend a few players only and work towards 2024. Whoever says the window is closing is just a tool watching twitter with all the jack offs on it like grant cohn.

  2. Cap hell is coming, just a matter of trying to push it down the road as long as possible. Signing Bosa to QB money will just make it even worse. Their SB window is diminishing as these huge contracts slowly squeeze the middle and bottom of the roster.

    1. your a fool and are probably just a moron watching players for your fantasy football league. You know nothing on how the cap works. in 2 years Williams will retire and his salary will turn mostly into a bonus. extending kittle, Arik, christian and others no big deal. Cap hell? We have a manpon here ladies and gentlemen.

      1. For your information mega moron, you can only extend guys so long before you will finally have to pay the piper.. eventually all that money comes due. Glad that crystal ball can tell you when Williams will retire, maybe you can use it to find your own brain and some courtesy.

      2. For your information mega moron, you can only extend guys so long before you will finally have to pay the piper, eventually all that money comes due. Glad that crystal ball can tell you when Williams will retire, maybe you can use it to find your own brain and some courtesy.

    2. Goj,
      One of the teams that dealt with the cap best was the Pats. They had a philosophy they called two Bs for an A. What that meant was other than QBs it was better to trade or release what they called A level players and to sign two level B players for less money than one A player. It was predicated on doing a great job on the Draft. That is where you came up with the A players you need to win. Fans don’t like it but if you draft effectively it works. The 49ers tried it with Buckner but struck out big time with Kinlaw

      1. One of the big story lines of this Super Bowl is the QB battle. One guy working on the rookie wage scale vs. the massively overpaid veteran QB. So far QB’s paid as much as Mahomes (as a % of the salary cap) have failed to win the Super Bowl. All of the great QB’s not named Brady have won their SB on their rookie deal. Once they get paid they no longer have the team to win it. Brady also took less money and allowed a team to be built around him.

        Top 5 paid QB Super Bowl winners.
        The players with the highest percentage of the salary cap who have won a super bowl are as follows: Steve Young (13.08 percent – 1994), Peyton Manning (12.21 percent – 2015), Tom Brady (11.82 percent – 2014), Eli Manning (11.75 percent- 2011), and Brett Favre (10.2 percent – 1996).

        Mahomes is at $35,793,381 (17.03% of cap)

  3. Lynch and Kyle believe in building through the draft, I doubt they let themselves get into cap hell.

    1. So you think they will trade some fan favorites for much cheaper draft picks. Who did you have in mind?

      1. OK. I’ll bite, trading fan favorites:
        Hufanga: If he’s really viewed around the league as an all-pro, then he’s worth way more in draft picks than I think his play for us warrants.
        Greenlaw: If we can sign Al-Shaair for Greenlaw’s compensation (or less), then trade Greenlaw so we can keep Al-Shaair in free agency. Greenlaw could garner major draft haul.

      2. I think Jimmy Ward and McGlinchy might be priced out of the Niners reach. I’d expect the Niners to draft several defensive linemen which would mean we’d loose several guys there.

      3. Cutting Deebo in two years will be a $9M savings. He’s a great gadget player. But I don’t think you can keep paying him $25M+ to be a part time WR and part time RB.

        They could save $11.5M by cutting Armstead in a couple years.

        Cutting Greenlaw in 2 years will save almost $7M. The 49ers have shown the ability to find fast flow coverage linebackers. Heck, I’m fairly confident Flangian-Fowls will be able to replace Al Shazir.

        A painful one to consider is Aaron Banks. He’s signed for only 2 more years on his rookie contract. If he continues to improve; he may play himself off of the roster. The 49ers have to this point not valued the Guard position and have gone with drafted players on rookie deals or retread veterans.

        Given the fungible nature of most running backs on the the 49ers, I don’t see Elijah Mitchell sticking around for the long term….especially because I think the 49ers will value keeping McCaffery because of his receiving skills to go with his rushing skills. They won’t be able to keep McCaffery and Mitchell.

        And I too believe they will consider moving on from Hufanga. Safety is another position they don’t tend to spend a lot of money on. And Hufanga has some major holes in his game. I wonder if there’s a possibility of moving him to linebacker in the future and maybe replace Greenlaw.

        1. I agree about Deebo. If you can find the right trade partner you could get back multiple 2nds or a 1st and a 2nd. It sounds like Keenan Allen will be cut they could sign him for far less than they signed Deebo.

  4. If the 49ers trade any of these players, or others, does it free up the total value of their contract in cap space? I’m absolutely not advocating this but curious about the scenario. Trent Williams is a 1st ballot HOFer but he’s about to be 38 and is openly hinting at retirement. If a million little pieces magically fell into place what could you get in draft capital if you traded Trent Williams and what would be the salary cap impact?

    1. 1.9,
      I also believe that the 49ers could garner top value for TW. But, even at 38 YO, Williams is still capable of playing at a high level.

      Williams is the best Olineman on the team and trading him would not necessarily provide another player who can fill his absence. And if McGlinchey moves on this could leave a huge gap in talent along the Oline.
      My only pause in a Trent Williams trade is which rookie/FA can give the 49ers the same production?

      1. Agree…trading Trent Williams to save cap $$, is cutting off your nose to spite your face….in reality, he is what holds the offensive line together, and I believe his presence makes the other guys work harder to be better…a little of base, but as far as McGlinchey is concerned, the 9ers let him walk if he tries to dig too deep into the wallet (even though PFF has his rated extremely high among FA O linemen)..keep Brendel…with young guys Banks and Burford at the guards, bringing in another Center for them to work with would be a mistake..we’re looking for continuity in that group…

      2. None of that actually addresses the specific questions I raised:

        1. If you traded, Trent Williams what is the likely compensation? Multiple 1st round picks? Multiple picks and players?

        2. If you traded Trent Williams, what is the salary cap impact? Do the 49ers free up $28MM in cap space to bolster multiple other position groups with top free agents?

        As I said, I’m not advocating trading a 1st ballot HOFer. I’m wondering what the impact would be of trading Trent Williams or any other big name guy. Bill Walsh traded Ronnie Lott and Roger Craig because he had a philosophy of trading guys before the decline. If Bill Walsh can trade Ronnie Lott, then surely no player is off the table in terms of trades.

        1. Pat,
          I don’t think Walsh cut Craig and or Lott. I think he made them (what was called at the time) plan B free agents but G. Siefert traded Montana.

          1. You might be right. The contract rules were so different back then. 49ers may have left those guys unprotected in Plan B free agency. Fact remains the same. The 49ers allowed big name guys to leave to make the team better. If I recall, Lott led the NFL in interceptions in his first year with the Raiders. He was still a top performer but he walked.

  5. Speaking of contracts Shanahan has 3 years to go on his. If he doesn’t win a Super Bowl in the next two years, will the Yorks move on to someone else? I mean Jed York has said, and more than once, that the Niners organization wants Super Bowl victories and nothing less. If Shanahan continues to fall short, what then?

    1. Ridiculous. Not only has Shanahan built one of the best rosters in football, he’s been to the conference championship game 3 of the past 4 years. There is not a chance in hell that York or any half sane owner would get ride of a coach like Shanahan. York’s statement is like every other owner, coach and player. That’s everyone’s goal. Think, man think.

    2. If Jed York had any sense he would put his money where his mouth is and fire Shanahan for continuing to under achieve. He is a loser plain and simple.

  6. As great as success that Andy Reid has had, he’s only won 1 Superbowl. He might win another next Sunday.

    But if Reid can’t pull off a SB win on Sunday, I doubt the Chiefs let him go. Andy Reid took a while in KC to get a trophy, but KC’s patience paid off.

    Shanahan is a very good head coach. I’d love for him/49ers to win a SB, but letting him go if he can’t win one for some unforeseen reason like having all his QBs going down should not be a viable reason to lose patience in him.
    Like Andy Reid, maybe a great QB comes along to get him over the top.

    1. Reid would have won multiple SB’s if he wasn’t stuck with pretty boy Alex Smith for so long!

      1. Bay,
        I agree with you. Alex Smith was the consummate game manager and Andy Reid wanted to open up his offense.
        Reid found his game-changer QB in Mahomes and everything changed.

        Let’s hope that Shanahan has found his game-changer QB in either Brock or Trey.

  7. My first look at resigning, or not resigning, 49er 2023 UFA’s`
    FS Jimmy Ward: Stated he’s not happy playing nickelback and it pays less than FS. Likely gone.
    QB Jimmy Garoppolo: Per KS, will not be resigned
    DE Sampson Ebukam’s $6.44 Mil salary….could be salary cap casualty
    CB Emmanuel Mosely is worth his $4.7 Mil salary. Resign
    RT Mike McGlinchey is not worth his $10.8 mil salary (and bid up by other teams). Replace with draft
    pick OT Blake Freeland BYU
    LB Azeez Al-Shaair Resign. Could be traded by 9er FO for draft picks
    K Robbie Gould Resign
    OL Daniel Brunskill save $2.433 MiL, Don’t resign. Replace with Zakelj, Poe or McKivitz
    DL resign Ridgeway, Hyder, Omenihu, Hurst, and Willis if price is right.
    TE Do not resign Kroft or Dwelly. Keep Charlie Woerner as the No. 2 TE
    CB Jason Varrett, too Injury prone. Don’t resign
    Resign LS Pepper, DB T Moore

    1. OL Daniel Brunskill save $2.433 MiL, Don’t resign. Replace with Zakelj, Poe or McKivitz

      Brunskill is the only reliable guard opposite Banks. Zakelj is either a Tackle or maybe a Center and a complete unknown so I don’t know why you’re advocating to replace Brunksill with Zakelj. McKivitz is mostly a Tackle. He’s either the swing tackle or the guy that replaces McGlinchey. Poe is a practice squad guy at this point.

      DE Sampson Ebukam’s $6.44 Mil salary….could be salary cap casualty

      Ebukam is a free agent. He won’t be resigned.

      RT Mike McGlinchey is not worth his $10.8 mil salary (and bid up by other teams). Replace with draft
      pick OT Blake Freeland BYU

      McGlinchey is a good run blocking RT. He’s probably worth $10M. PFF has him graded as their #10 Free agent at 4 years $62M ($37M guaranteed) $15.5M/Y Avg. That’s too rich for my blood. McKivitz has performed pretty well in the past filling in for McGlinchey. I’m not a fan of relying on rookies to be immediate starters. Especially ones lower than 1st round picks.

      1. Allforfun
        “Brunskill is the only reliable guard” RELIABLE? More like a reliable turnstile….
        2023 Free agents the 9ers could replace Brunskill with: Nate Davis, G, Titans. Age: 26.
        Dalton Risner, G, Broncos, Age: 28, Ben Powers, G, Ravens. Age: 26, Evan Brown, G/C, Lions. Age: 26.
        Aaron Stinnie, G, Buccaneers. Age: 29 (possible 1 yr prove it deal). The list goes on!

        DE Sampson Ebukam’s $6.44 Mil salary….could be salary cap casualty.
        * “Ebukam is a free agent. He won’t be resigned.” A POOR EXPLANATION: I Meant to say he could be resigned, then traded for draft picks.

        McGlinchey will likely have multiple teams offer him in excess of $15 Mil P/Y…..Exactly! He’s gone!
        McKivitz will be given a chance to replace McGlinchey. I’d also like to see the 9ers draft OT Blake Freeland BYU

        Possible 9er 2023 3Rd round draft picks (before combine):
        * EDGE: Zach Harrison, Ohio ST
        * Center: John Michael, Minnesota
        * OT: Blake Freeland, BYU
        * SS: Brandon Joseph, Notre Dame
        * DT: Mazi Smith, Michigan

    2. McGlinchey is a top 10 RT and will get paid more than $10.8M. I know fans don’t believe this but the people who count due. He’ll make more money on his next contract. He might be willing to give the Niners a better deal but probably not by much. I think the odds of keeping him is 50/50.
      Brunskill is another one who will cost more next season.
      I think both Ebukam and or Omenihu might be gone as well and replaced with draft picks due to their rising value.

  8. Thankfully we will never have to see Jimmy G in a 49er uniform ever again. I am sick and tired of seeing that losers face

    1. While I agree, I’ll be glad to see JG gone…….BUT for a “LOSER,” he won a lot of games for the 9ers……
      Makes you wonder who the “loser” really is!

  9. Resign Mosely if he can return to his former proficiency. Have we heard anything about his recovery>?

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