No. 5: Defensive Tackle Earl Mitchell
After all, Jones is significantly younger and has a much higher upside at this point in his career.
The 49ers signed Mitchell to a four-year, $16 million contract early in 2017. While San Francisco isn’t exactly approaching salary cap hell this offseason, parting ways with the 31-year-old veteran would save $2.95 million next year at a cost of $1.5 million in dead money.
And it would free up Jones to assume a starter’s role in base defenses.
Mitchell is one of those cases where poor performance isn’t the reason for being cut. Instead, it’s about developing the younger players in which San Francisco has more invested for the future.