5 potential cap casualties for 49ers with reduced 2021 salary cap

Kwon Alexander #56 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Kwon Alexander #56 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /
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Dee Ford, 49ers
Dee Ford #55 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

A reduced salary cap in 2021 could force the 49ers into some tough financial decisions between now and next offseason, including these possible cuts.

The San Francisco 49ers are watching their payroll rise at one of the worst possible times imaginable.

Not long ago, the thought was the NFL salary cap would increase up to $240 million in 2021, thanks to the wide array of ways the league is making money and following the trend of general cap increases seen over the past few years. Yet the recent COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent repercussions, both known and unknown, ultimately translated into the league and players union understanding the 2021 cap could drop all the way down to $175 million from the near-$200 million it’s at right now.

This has a crucial impact on the Niners, both right now and in the not-so-distant future. Currently, according to Over the Cap, San Francisco has $170,187,585 in total cap liabilities for 2021, just a $5 million shade under the projected $175 million mark. This doesn’t include, however, possible re-sign deals for pending free agents like cornerback Richard Sherman, offensive tackle Trent Williams, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, cornerback K’Waun Williams and tight end George Kittle.

And with regards to Kittle, it could be one of the reasons the 49ers and a would-be Kittle extension reached an impasse.

Needless to say, if the Niners want to keep the core of their roster together, they’re going to have to engineer some serious roster moves, which include possible renegotiations, extensions/base-salary conversions and cap casualties.

In this slideshow, Niner Noise focuses on the last possibility, exploring players who may end up being cap casualties once the 2020 season is in the books and the front office needs to clear some money to fit underneath the cap.