49ers Mailbag II: Is 30 million in cap space enough?

49ers Mailbag II: Is 30 million in cap space enough?
February 13, 2012, 10:09 pm
Share This Post

The 49ers have already taken the necessary steps to roll over their unused cap money from 2011.The 49ers have 103.737 million devoted to the 2012 salary cap. But the approximate 12.6 million that went unused in 2011 will be applied to their 2012 cap. (Other sources have cited a higher number that does not reflect incentives earned in 2011.)
So, in essence, the 49ers have 91.3 devoted to the to-be-determined salary cap. Last year, the league-wide cap was 120.375 million.

The 49ers should have plenty of cap space to do everything they need to accomplish this offseason. After all, last year the 49ers signed Ray McDonald, Donte Whitner, Jonathan Goodwin and David Akers to multi-year contracts. The combined first-year cap figures of those deals was 8.65 million.Remember, the first-year cap value of multi-year contracts is typically far below the average annual salary.If the 49ers do not reach a long-term agreement with safety Dashon Goldson, there is a strong chance the 49ers will slap the franchise tag on him at 6.2 million. That would be the most cap space the 49ers will have to devote to any player not currently under contract.And that leads us into our first question in 49ers Mailbag II . . . Any talk of Patrick Willis restructuring to lower his 17 million cap figure? (@VincentFrankNFL)
When teams start restructuring contracts, they're pushing those costs into the future. That is what the 49ers did repeatedly from the mid-1990s into the early 2000s, and that's a lesson they learned the hard way with the great salary cap purge of 2004.The 49ers have plenty of salary-cap space to do everything they wish to do this offseason. Also, the 49ers will clear more space when they make a move with veteran cornerback Shawntae Spencer, who will not be back at his 3.3 cap figure. The team puts a dollar figure on every player. They are not going to keep increasing their offer because another team is bidding for the same player.The 49ers have their plan in place for this season. And, clearly, CEO Jed York likes the plan that general manager Trent Baalke has presented him for 2012 and beyond. After all, York last week signed Baalke to a three-year extension through the 2016 season.With all the talent Larry Grant showcased filling in for Willis, it's a shame he's not starting. Do you see SF shuffling the LB corps up at all to get him on the field more often? (@Steve Busichio)
No, I don't.Grant is an inside linebacker. He is not a pass-rushing outside linebacker.He plays the same spots as Willis and NaVorro Bowman. Grant is not going to take away any playing time from Willis or Bowman.And, at the same time, Willis and Bowman are inside linebackers. They are not pass-rushing outside linebackers. The 49ers are not going to experiment with a new position for any of those players.Therefore, if another NFL team wants to sign Grant to be a starter, the 49ers will have no choice but to watch him go somewhere else for an increased role and an increased paycheck.