The idea of the SF 49ers pursuing free-agent pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney is enticing, but general manager John Lynch isn’t planning on a deal.
General manager John Lynch was asked by KNBR 680’s Murph and Mac Show on Thursday morning whether or not his team would go after the 27-year-old veteran who tormented San Francisco in both Weeks 10 and 17 last year when he was with the Seattle Seahawks.
And Lynch’s response was pretty straightforward and simple.
“We’re out of cash,” the general manager said. “We’ve got a salary cap and we’re up against it.”
It’s a pretty accurate statement. Currently, according to Over the Cap, the SF 49ers have $220,681,921 in total cap liabilities with $194,159,050 of that committed to their top 51 contracts. The team will have to be under the current $198.2 million salary cap once final roster cuts are made by Saturday, Sept. 5.
Most estimates have the Niners hovering between $8 million and $10 million below the salary cap once Week 1 kicks off, and some of that money will be used to tweak the back end of the roster to guard against the inevitable influx of injuries that’ll take place between now and the end of the season.
Clowney earned $15 million on a franchise tag last season, split between the Seahawks and the team that traded him to Seattle, the Houston Texans.
While Clowney might be willing to accept something of a discount this late in the season, particularly with a chance to sign with a contender, it would have been a notable pipe dream for San Francisco to onboard one of the league’s better pass-rushers without drastically altering the roster elsewhere. Plus, while boasting a deep crop of elite-level pass-rushers is never a bad idea, it would have been tough for the Niners to get a player like Clowney on the field on a regular basis.
Ford does have an injury history of his own, however, and even he was dinged up in training camp after appearing in 11 regular-season games and seeing just over 22 percent of the defense’s snaps last season.
But with over $15 million in dead money, if cut, Ford isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
So, even if you were holding out hope the 49ers would be inclined to at least try bringing Clowney aboard, Lynch’s comments should have told you what you probably already knew.