Cap hell is history for 49ers

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Cap hell is history for 49ers

Programming note: Stay logged on toCSNBayArea.com all week long as 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco files reportsfrom the NFL scouting combine in IndianapolisINDIANAPOLIS -- The organization that coined the term "salary cap hell" has not felt any heat for nearly a decade.And the 49ers again have plenty of cap space this offseason with three weeks before the start of the new league year and the league-wide open of free agency.
The 49ers have already taken the necessary steps to roll over 12.6 million in unused cap space from 2011 to this year's salary cap, a league source told CSNBayArea.com.The 49ers have 103 million devoted to 2012 salaries, including 3.3 million that figures be cleared off the books when the 49ers part ways with cornerback Shawntae Spencer, whom the club has given permission to seek a trade.Last year, the salary cap was 120.375 million, so the 49ers figure to have well more than 30 million in available cap room to enact their offseason plan.The team has 19 free agents, including starters quarterback Alex Smith, guard Adam Snyder, receiver Joshua Morgan, outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks, and defensive backs Carlos Rogers and Dashon Goldson.RELATED: Complete list of 49ers free agents
Obviously, the 49ers will not re-sign all of their free agents, but coach Jim Harbaugh said there is a priority on bringing back as many of the players as possible."Knowing who they are, it makes you want to compete for them," Harbaugh said. "They are 49ers. They play like 49ers. They play their hearts out. You want those guys on your side. I know I value them a lot because we have evidence of what kind of people they are and how they play."How the 49ers value those players -- more than the restraints of the salary cap -- will be the issue in shaping the 2012 team.The 49ers have not felt the pinch of the salary cap since the organization purged its roster of high-priced players such as Jeff Garcia, Terrell Owens, Garrison Hearst, Derrick Deese and Ron Stone after the 2003 season. There were few cap concerns over the next seven years under 49ers capologist and chief negotiator Paraag Marathe. But there were few victories, too. The 49ers averaged 5.6 victories over the next seven seasons before the pieces fell into place last season with a 13-3 record in Harbaugh's first season.
General manager Trent Baalke works with Marathe to assign dollar values to every potential free agent. Baalke recently signed a contract extension through the 2016 season. Baalke intimated the 49ers are closer to "salary cap heaven" these days."I think Paraag does an outstanding job of managing the cap and putting us in a good position," Baalke said. "We have a great working relationship. We work very closely together to take a look at all our options and be a team that is very consistent with how we go about our business. That starts with Paraag's unbelievable skills in understanding and managing the numbers."

49ers announce more hires to Shanahan's staff

49ers announce more hires to Shanahan's staff

Kyle Shanahan put together some of the final pieces of his coaching staff on Tuesday.

The 49ers announced the hirings of seven coaches, including confirmation of John Benton as offensive line coach.

The team hired former NFL standout linebacker DeMeco Ryans as defensive quality control coach. He was a second-round selection of the Houston Texans in 2006 and spent 10 seasons in the league. He finished his career playing four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 49ers also hired Daniel Bullocks as assistant defensive backs coach, Stan Kwan as assistant special teams, Vince Oghobaase as assistant defensive line, Adam Stenavich as assistant offensive line, and Michael Clay as strength and conditioning assistant.

Benton, 53, was hired away from the Broncos after being on the job for approximately a month. Benton served as Jacksonville’s assistant offensive line coach last season. He worked the previous 13 seasons as offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (2003-05), Houston (2006-2013) and Miami (2014-15).

Benton and Shanahan worked together for four seasons with the Houston Texans.

Bullocks worked in the same role with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. The Jaguars' linebackers coach last season, Robert Saleh, is the 49ers' new defensive coodinator. Bullocks appeared in 31 games in three NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions in 2006 and '08.

John Lynch: 49ers will be up-front with Kaepernick

John Lynch: 49ers will be up-front with Kaepernick

The only promises new 49ers general manager John Lynch made quarterback Colin Kaepernick for this offseason are open communication and honesty.

Kaepernick has spent all six of his NFL seasons with the 49ers after being a second-round draft pick in 2011. He has started 58 of the 49ers’ past 71 regular-season games.

Kaepernick has the contractual ability to opt out of his contract in March. If he does not, it seems likely the 49ers would release him – even if they want him back – to avoid being on the hook for his scheduled $14.9 million pay for the 2017 season.

“The one thing we will do very well with Kap is we’ll communicate,” Lynch said Tuesday on 95.7 The Game. “And I think that’s very important for both sides. Like everything else, that process is well in the works. We’ll continue to do that and we’ll be very up-front with him, in terms of what we’re thinking and we’ll want to know what he’s thinking, as well.”

Lynch said he developed trust and a good rapport with Kaepernick during the time when the 49ers were among the top teams in the NFL. Lynch was a broadcaster for FOX-TV and had occasion to meet with Kaepernick multiple times during production meetings.

“Every time we talk about Kap, I think of the guy who was in the Super Bowl not too (long ago),” Lynch said. “Things happen in guys’ careers. Injuries happen. Different things happen.”

Kaepernick began last season as the backup to Blaine Gabbert. After regaining his starting role in Week 6, Kaepernick put together his best season since 2013 – his first full season as a starter.

Kaepernick completed 59.2 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. His passer rating was 90.7, and he added 468 yards rushing.

Lynch said he and coach Kyle Shanahan have been evaluating the players on the 49ers’ roster. The other three quarterbacks on the roster – Gabbert, Christian Ponder and Thad Lewis – are not under contract for next season.

“Like we said we would – and like we told Kap we would – we’re assessing everything,” Lynch said. “Both Kyle and I believe wholeheartedly that position is the most-important position in football.

“From every side of this thing, we’re evaluating. And we’re continuing to watch the film. We’ll continue to work toward that until we have made a decision.”