Well, the Saints fired the first shot in the upcoming salary cap wars by jettisoning safety Roman Harper, defensive end Will Smith, and cornerback Jabari Greer. They also decided not to re-sign linebacker Jonathan Vilma. They went from $18 million over the cap to $3 milll under.
Which brings us to the 49ers. As we stand we are about $6 mill under. But we have a lot of talent that is going to be on the market this year or next. The most immediate pile of money to recoup would be for Carlos Rogers. He’s scheduled to make over $8 million this year, and the Niners could recoup $5 mill ($2.9 mill in dead money) by cutting him. Rogers balked last year at any kind of restructuring becasue he felt he had earned the money. The Niners ended up agreeing to this when Chris Culliver suffered a season-ending knee injury early in training camp. This year however is a different story. He’s not the best corner on the team anymore, and he knows that if he wants to stay he has to restructure. I think the Niners play hardball with him in the negotiations and he walks.
Frank Gore on the other had is another big pile of money that could become available. His $6 mill would instantly be freed up as his contract is ending this yewar, and there’d be no dead money to choke on. Cut Gore? That is a tough row to hoe for me, seeing as Gore was the bell cow for so many years under offensive geniouses Dumb (Nolan) and Dumber (Singletary). Both of them couldn’t yell loud enough, STOP GORE! THAT’S ALL WE DO!!! to every popponent we faced from 2005 to 2010. He bravely toiled on dogshit teams, playing through various injuries and basically getting pounded to dust regularly facing 9 in the tackle box. The fact that he did get hisd yards is all the more extraordinary. Plus, he should be in the Hall of Fame for his blocking ability alone, let alone the 10,000 yard mark he’s about to surpass.
Still and all, I hope against hope that Frank restructures. He certainly can force the issue and make this a PR thing. He has become one of the most well-liked and respected players in 49er history, and the fans love him. Still, $6 mill for a guy who is definitely winding down is another tough row to hoe for the bean counters, when they have guys like Boldin and Whitner as immediate concerns. His base salary is ‘only’ $3 mill, so maybe they can restructure around the bonusses. I think he stays. Cutting him would be bad juju. They can phase him out, but they can’t cut him.
So, 2 prudent moves like that would give the Niners close to $10 million more in cap room. Throw in Adam Snyder ($1 mill to the cap), Jon (look out!) Baldwin ($1.4 mill in cap savings, $0.00 in dead money), and super-sub Craig Dahl ($1.4 mill in cap relief) totals out to almost another $4 million. Jettison some guys buried deep on the depth chart (Jason Shepler, Michael Purcell) adn retool woth rookies, and the total is close to $5 mill. With the room they have, they could come up with close to $21 mill in room to play with.
Here are the numbers:
Then they can focus on signing Anquan Boldin and Donte Whitner to deals. And Phil Dawson. Huzzah!