No. 3: 49ers Center Weston Richburg
Getting into the tougher cap casualties here.
Laken Tomlinson would be a tough cut, but head coach Kyle Shanahan prioritizes his tackles and center more than guards. And yet veteran center Weston Richburg, whose five-year, $47.5 million free-agent contract back in 2018 was quite the outlier, could be in danger of being terminated before it sees its finale in 2022.
The Niners already have two “option years” in 2023 and 2024 to spread out the bonus. And cutting Richburg before June 1 wouldn’t make much sense, as it would generate well over $8 million in dead money against just under $3 million in cap space.
As was the case with Tomlinson, though, should San Francisco develop a cheap center in the interim and/or find someone in the 2021 NFL Draft to take over, the financial ramifications could be adjusted with a post-June 1 cut of Richburg.
Doing this would save $8.35 million against $3,055,141 in dead money.
Richburg enjoyed a productive year for the 49ers before suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week 14 last year. But his absence revealed how the 49ers can get by without his services. Another player might be a downgrade, especially initially. But that’s the situation the cap-stressed Niners find themselves in.