49ers Mailbag: Who's in line for extension?

July 21, 2012, 2:17 pm
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Q: Whichhow many impending FA's could get extensions this season, keeping the cap in mind? (Tre Faaborg)
Safety Dashon Goldson is not an option. Because the 49ers and Goldson did not work out a deal by Monday's deadline, he is ineligible to sign anything but a one-year deal until after the final regular-season game.I don't think it's anywhere near a given that the 49ers would sign anyone to an extension during the season. The club has 3.395 million in cap room. I'm sure they'll want to hold onto most of that money as insurance and carry it over to next year's cap.The 49ers' top scheduled free agent is nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga, who enters the final year of the five-year, 20 million deal he signed in 2008.Backup tight end Delanie Walker is also a player the 49ers want back at the right price, but he might wish to escape the shadow of Vernon Davis to find a team that might offer him more prominence as a pass-catcher.If cornerback Tramaine Brock makes the team and finds a role, he would probably be the top possibility to get an extension during the season.All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman's rookie deal is set to expire after the 2013 season. Obviously, he is grossly underpaid from his rookie deal of four years, 2.6 million. This will be a difficult contract for the 49ers because Bowman seems to be entering Patrick Willis-territory.Yes, the 49ers might believe they can get him a little on the cheap now, but Bowman could get a huge deal in two seasons on the open market. Of course, he also is a candidate for the 49ers to tag as a franchise player if the sides fail to reach a long-term solution in the next couple of years.
Here is the contract status of each player the 49ers currently have under contract:Signed through 2012
CB Tramaine Brock (RFA)
RB Rock Cartwright
NT Ricky Jean Francois
S Dashon Goldson
LB Tavares Gooden
WR Ted Ginn
LB Larry Grant
RB Brandon Jacobs
WR Randy Moss
NT Isaac Sopoaga
WR Brett Swain
TE Delanie WalkerSigned through 2013
K David Akers
LB NaVorro Bowman
CB Tarell Brown
TE Nate Byham
CB Perrish Cox (RFA)
RB Anthony Dixon
DT Demarcus Dobbs (RFA)
C Jonathan Goodwin
LB Parys Haralson
WR Joe Hastings
QB Josh Johnson
WR Mario Manningham
DE Justin Smith
QB Scott Tolzien (RFA)
DT Will Tukuafu
S Donte Whitner
DT Ian Williams (RFA)
WR Kyle WilliamsSigned through 2014
RB Frank Gore
WR Michael Crabtree
CB Chris Culliver
OT Anthony Davis
CB Curtis Holcomb
RB Kendall Hunter
G Mike Iupati
LS Brian Jennings
DB Colin Jones
QB Colin Kaepernick
OL Daniel Kilgore
FB Bruce Miller
OL Mike Person
OLB Aldon Smith
QB Alex Smith
DB C.J. SpillmanSigned through 2015
OT Alex Boone
TE Vernon Davis
LB Darius Fleming
RB LaMichael James
WR A.J. Jenkins
LB Cam Johnson
G Joe Looney
DE Ray McDonald
S Trenton Robinson
CB Carlos Rogers
OL Jason SloweySigned through 2016
LB Patrick WillisSigned through 2017
LB Ahmad Brooks
OT Joe StaleySigned through 2017
OLB Ahmad Brooks
P Andy LeeAll players listed above are unrestricted free agents at expiration of their contract, except where otherwise noted. All undrafted free agents signed three-year contracts, and other street free agents signed two-year deals. Q: Please explain what is meant by the term "guaranteed." Does guaranteed mean unconditionally guaranteed, conditionally guaranteed or a combination of both conditions? (Mark Walsh)
In my world, guaranteed means guaranteed. But in recent years, that meaning has become a lot more hazy when it comes to NFL contracts.Each contract can be different. Typically, a signing bonus is fully guaranteed (unless the player does something out of the ordinary to prompt the team to reclaim a portion of it). And when a high-profile player signs a multi-year deal, the first year or two of base salaries might also be guaranteed.Most contracts now can contain guarantees for skill, cap or injury. Some of these deals use the term "total guarantee" even though some of that money is not guaranteed at all.For instance, Alex Smith's three-year contract with the 49ers contains 15.5 million in "total guarantees." But the final 7.5 million becomes guaranteed only if he remains on the 49ers' roster on April 1, 2013. So, really, that money right now is not guaranteed.Only 1 million of Smith's second-year money is guaranteed for skill or cap. That is, if the 49ers decide to part ways with Smith prior to April 1 because his skills have diminished or it's deemed a salary-cap move, he'll still receive 1 million.So, actually, Smith's real guaranteed money on the three-year contract he signed with the 49ers on March 21 is 9 million. Q: Can you explain a little on how dead money works. When the 53-man roster is named, anyone cut may add to our dead money total. This could potentially put a team over the cap. How would the league handle a situation like that? (ModestoMatt)For cap purposes, the signing bonus is spread out over the life of a deal. For instance, if a player signs a two-year contract with a 200,000 signing bonus, just add 100,000 both seasons to his base salary and that's his cap figure. If a player is cut before his second season, that remaining 100,000 of "dead money" still counts against the team's cap in the second year.After June 1, any player cut will have his remaining proration accelerate to the following season. So a team's dead money for that particular season cannot increase with final cuts. Q: Can you explain the situation we have with Darius Fleming?
Fifth-round draft pick Darius Fleming underwent surgery this offseason to repair a torn ACL. The 49ers will place him on active PUP (physically unable to perform) at the beginning of training camp. If they were to place him immediately on injured reserve, they'd have to waive him and take the risk of losing him to another team. So the 49ers will place him on PUP and he'll count against the roster limit.At the final cuts, the 49ers can place him on injured reserve (or keep him on PUP to begin the season). Either way, he would no longer count against the 53-player limit.Terms of Fleming's contract call for him to make 390,000 this season in base salary if he remains on the roster. If he spends the season on injured reserve, his split salary of 273,000 kicks in.

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