It’s not just signing season for NFL teams everywhere including the San Francisco 49ers. It’s restructure season.
In the case of the Niners, there will be numerous candidates for a restructured contract heading toward the free agency period in March. But 49ers insider for ESPN Nick Wagoner unveiled who is No. 1 on the restructured list for 2023.
“RB Christian McCaffrey is most obvious restructure candidate,” Wagoner shared. “$11.8 million base salary with no guarantees. Would be a win/win to convert salary to signing bonus and spread it out. And he’s in the plan for awhile. Would be surprised if there’s not some movement on this one.”
The $11.8 million Wagoner is referring to is McCaffrey’s 2023 base per Spotrac. His base salary for 2022 was at $690,000.
But Wagoner includes the 49ers are $8 to $9 million in cap space and will have “Many avenues to create more room in next few weeks via simple or maximum restructures (adding void years).”
McCaffrey Still Surpassed 1,000 Yards With 49ers
The impact was instant for McCaffrey the moment he got sent over to the 49ers via Charlotte.
He went from only two 100-yard rushing games to producing four with the Niners including in the Super Wild Card Weekend romp of the Seattle Seahawks. He additionally went from two rushing touchdowns in a Panthers uniform to scoring eight in his 14 games with S.F. As a receiver, he increased his touchdowns from one with Carolina to five as a 49er.
But overall, McCaffrey ended up totaling 1,543 total yards as a 49er — meaning he averaged 110.2 total yards each game with the Niners. Also included: 16 plays of 20 yards or more in not even a full season in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
Those numbers and the impact of having an additional runner/receiver threat next to Deebo Samuel make it obvious as to why McCaffrey is the first restructure candidate to think of for the 2023 offseason. However, Wagoner mentioned other names who could have some reworked contracts.
Who Else Could Qualify
As Wagoner points out, it’s players who franchises believe will be in it for a lengthy period of time as the most likely candidates to have their deals reworked. But on a veteran laden team like the 49ers, which ones outside of McCaffrey would be considered?
“Traditionally, you only want to restructure guys you believe will be productive for the long haul so later, more onerous cap hits are acceptable. LB Fred Warner, CB Charvarius Ward would likely fall into this category among remaining options,” Wagoner pointed out.
Ward was last the offseason prized addition for the 49ers, signing a three-year deal that pays him up to $40.5 million and won’t make him an unrestricted free agent until 2025, when he’s 32. Warner, meanwhile, has his base salary rising to $12,925,000 this upcoming season but has a potential out for 2024. But who else are possibilities for restructuring?
“Others, such as LT Trent Williams, TE George Kittle, DL Arik Armstead are also be possibilities but feel less likely based on where they are in careers and already high costs on remaining parts of their deals. Still could do smaller savings on these,” Wagoner said. All three are either nearing their 30s or are in their mid-30s.
Of course, there’s one other major deal the 49ers will be thinking about: Nick Bosa and his extension which Wagoner predicts “would likely lower his currently projected $17.859 million hit for next year.”
Wagoner concludes how the 49ers could maneuver between $20 to $30 million in cap space to work with.