The defensive captain currently has a cap hit of $23.9 million for the 2023 season according to Spotrac and has a base salary set for $15.89 million. Unfortunately, there are analysts and fans who believe Armstead will be too expensive to keep moving forward, hence the trade idea — which conjures memories of DeForest Buckner in 2020.
Yet there’s another idea: Restructuring Armstead’s deal which, also per Spotrac, is set for $2.6 million. But as analyst for 49ers Webzone Rohan Chakravarthi wrote on Saturday, February 25: “Making that move would be a mistake for the organization” while detailing why.
49ers Have Done This Before, Analyst Points Out
If the 49ers go the restructure route with Armstead, it wouldn’t be their first time.
“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,” Chakravarthi detailed.
He included how Armstead has the following attached to him: 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 veteran defensive tackle currently holds a dead cap charge of $6.7 million in 2025 and $2.6 million in 2026.
Chakravarthi dove even further with detailing why Armstead has a high cap figure. Again, it’s because the 49ers have already restructured his deal.
Any Solution in Preventing Armstead for Drifting Off?
The 49ers Webzone analyst suggests this to the 49ers: Leave Armstead’s deal where it is if there’s a seriousness in keeping him.
By doing that, it’ll allow Armstead to play out his current five-year, $85 million deal until the 2025 season when he officially becomes an unrestricted free agent. He’ll be near his mid-30s by then.
The 49ers are already dealing with an offseason of transition in the trenches anyway. Including edge rushers, the 49ers have six defenders set to hit free agency. Of the six, only interior defender Kevin Givens is the lone one who’s a non unrestricted free agent. Armstead becoming the seventh to potentially move on creates an even massive hole in a dominant unit as Armstead has been lauded for his ability to bounce between edge rusher and “B” gap defender.
So what could work for the 49ers? Along with ESPN NFL insider Nick Wagoner, Chakravarthi is another who believes reworking Christian McCaffrey’s deal should be the priority here.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”