Navarro Bowman restructured his contract Thursday to create nearly $3 million in cap space for this season. According to Field Yates of ESPN, $3.27 million of Bowman’s $4 million salary this year was converted into an up-front signing bonus that, for cap purposes, will be prorated over the next five years of Bowman’s deal. While this reduces Bowman’s 2014 cap figure from $7.05 million to $4.434 million, Bowman’s figure will rise throughout the remainder of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers are almost certainly trying to free up space to give Colin Kaepernick the monster contract he is bound to receive. They also will be attempting to re-sign Michael Crabtree and/or Mike Iupati if possible–Crabtree is more likely to be retained. The 49ers currently have roughly $2 million in cap space after signing Jimmie Ward and some other draft picks. An extra $6.6 million will appear on June 1, however, as Carlos Rogers’ cut will come into play from a financial standpoint.
What does this restructuring with Bowman mean for San Francisco? Though it is often dangerous to mortgage–just ask the Cowboys–the future to sign players now, with the projected $10 million in cap room, it makes sense to do this a little bit, especially if it is the only way to sign your quarterback of the future. The 49ers will still have to do more in order to figure out a way to get Kaepernick his close to $20 million a year average, but this is a good start.
Bowman got a really good deal out of this, however. Though he did not get any additional money, this year’s salary essentially becomes guaranteed with the majority of it working to give him job security. The more money guaranteed to a player in the later years of a contract, the less likely a team is to cut him.
I hesitate to applaud the 49ers for restructuring deals like this, but something had to be done if Kaepernick is to get his contract from San Francisco.