As of Friday morning, May 27, the San Francisco 49ers are at the bottom in this ranking: Cap Space.
According to Over the Cap, the 49ers currently sit at $673,752 in cap space, then have $708,468 in effective cap space — the latter indicating how much the ‘Niners have in the cap space room if they were to sign at least 51 players and their rookie class to its roster.
Less than $710,000 in an account may look lavish and outstanding for many non-NFL employees. However, it doesn’t resemble the best money flexibility on the 49ers’ end.
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But there is a pivotal date that every NFL franchise including the 49ers are less than five days away from. And as one insider who covers the 49ers pointed out on Thursday, May 26, these “potential occurrences” can free up the team’s cap room.
Those occurrences involve possible roster moves in the trenches if it were to happen.
‘Potential Occurrences’ That Could Help the 49ers Save
The Athletic’s David Lombardi took a dive into this theory on what could cause changes in cap space for the 49ers.
“If any of the potential occurrences below actually happen, here is the 2022 salary-cap space the 49ers can save if the occurrences happen after June 1 (as opposed to before it): Dee Ford release: $8.6 million. Alex Mack retirement: $1.225 million,” Lombardi tweeted.
Lombardi then dove into a further explanation that involves a key summer date for the 49ers, which can impact how much cap room they can create.
“Explanation: June 1 is a magic date for NFL finances. At that point, 50% of potential dead cap burdens can be pushed forward to the next season’s (2023’s) books. The 49ers obviously have much more room there,” Lombardi posted.
What the Financial Impact Could Entail
So what does this all mean financially for the 49ers?
That means the 49ers can save up to $9.825 million if both decisions were to be made by the June date. Ford’s and Mack’s 49ers future is still in question. Already, Lombardi’s colleague at The Athletic Matt Barrows reported on Monday, May 23 that the defensive end Ford is expected to be released this summer. Mack’s 49ers future is still to be determined as he’s been a no-show during the 49ers’ May OTAs (Organized Team Activities) period.
Ford has long been considered a player on the release block in the Bay Area. The 31-year-old pass rusher, who earned a 2018 Pro Bowl appearance with the Kansas City Chiefs and has 40 career sacks per Pro Football Reference, has unfortunately endured a 49ers career marred by injuries that has limited him to 18 games but just two starts since 2019. Ford’s best 49ers season was his first year with the franchise — which saw him hit 6.5 sacks in 11 games but dealt with thigh hamstring strains. Ford originally signed for five years and $85.5 million with S.F.
Mack’s status has become one of the most highly scrutinized and highly questioned by Bay Area media, which was detailed in this Heavy on 49ers story from May 24. The seven-time pro Bowler and 49ers captain has mulled retirement. Although, head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters following the draft on April 30 that he and the team has left the door open for Mack to return, but adds “It’s kind of up to Alex.”
The 49ers still have a ways to go to reach these even more critical dates for NFL teams as noted by Lombardi:
But in the mean time, Ford and Mack’s name has been mentioned as “possible occurrences” between now and the first day of the summer month.