One player on each side of the ball
We’re all aware of how up against the salary cap the San Francisco 49ers potentially could be when free agency starts in roughly a month. While the talk will continue to surround restructuring Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract, he’s not the only player on the roster who the Niners can either restructure or extend to create the necessary cap space.
When general manager John Lynch said that the team didn’t need to create any more money at the end of the season, it came off as if the team had a plan in place if need be for the offseason. While Fred Warner figures to get an eye-popping contract extension, let’s look at a few other names who could be in line for a restructure or extension this offseason.
S Jimmie Ward
The way the coaching staff talks about Ward, it’s difficult to imagine they’d have another safety in his place. With that in mind, and if the Niners feel like they have to create a few million here or there, extending the 30-year-old to be could be an option considering how highly the team thinks of Ward.
Not all extensions have to be earth-shattering, as Warner’s figures to be. Ward could be extended for a year, and the team could gain a few million. A simple move that could be enough to bring back a player like Kyle Juszczyk.
Ward was ruled about this past season with a concussion against the Cowboys and the Cardinals late in the year, but he started 14 games and, despite missing two games, still finished in the top-15 of Sports Info Solution’s ‘total points saved’ metric. If the 49ers are going by “the Patriot way,” then extending/restructuring your team leaders seems like the most plausible way to manipulate the salary cap in the short-term.
G Laken Tomlinson
Extending Tomlinson feels like a shoo-in this offseason. Tomlinson has missed one game during his four years in San Francisco, and the only time he comes off the field is when it’s something extreme like his cleat coming untied. This past season was Tomlinson’s worst year as far as blown blocks go, but he was still above average.
Trent Williams was vocal all year about how Tomlinson helped him as a player and not just the young lineman on the roster. Reliability and play make it easy to extend Tomlinson, who, like Ward, has multiple years remaining on his contract but doesn’t have any guaranteed salary left on his deal.
Tomlinson just turned 29 and figures to have a lot of quality play left in him. Giving him an extension — something that Tomlinson has earned — could save upwards to three million of Tomlinson’s $6.5 million cap hit in 2021.