3 players 49ers could cut to save cap space in 2021

Dee Ford #55 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Dee Ford #55 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Laken Tomlinson, 49ers
Laken Tomlinson #75 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The 49ers may be forced to save money in 2021 by cutting these players.

For the first time in what seems like a long time, the San Francisco 49ers are in a situation where they may have to part ways with the proverbial cap casualty.

It already happened this season as the Niners moved Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts during the offseason, immediately freeing up roughly $12 million in cap space and avoiding the $21 million Buckner will now make on an annual basis.

At least San Francisco got something, a first-round NFL Draft pick, in return for Buckner. But it’s not always that simple gaining some sort of return for an asset. In many instances, other teams aren’t willing to take on a lucrative contract, either because they don’t have enough of their own cap space to absorb the hit or they simply don’t want to be burdened down by committing a lot of money to one player.

And so, the cap casualty. A roster cut.

As things stand now, the 49ers are projected to have $49,781,160 in cap space against a projected $215 million salary cap in 2021, according to Over the Cap. This doesn’t, however, account for some possible pending free-agent re-signings, such as safety Jaquiski Tartt, and cornerbacks Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams. Tight end George Kittle is also due for what promises to be a massive contract extension, too.

Simply put, that $49.78 million will dwindle quickly.

The situation at hand could ultimately force general manager John Lynch and Co. to part ways with some good-yet-expensive talent at some point a little less than a year from now.

Niner Noise looks at three 49ers players who could be affected by this in 2021.