No. 1: SF 49ers don’t have enough cap space for a big move
The Dallas Cowboys traded EDGE Everson Griffen to the Detroit Lions for a conditional sixth-round pick on Oct. 27. It wasn’t hard to find SF 49ers fans complaining about the non-move John Lynch and Co. made, especially considering the cost given up by Detroit and San Francisco’s own pass-rushing needs.
San Francisco 49ers
Here’s the thing: Griffen commands a 2020 cap hit of nearly $6 million and will be a free agent in 2021, according to Over the Cap.
Even with only a partial cap hit to the SF 49ers, they have only $3,125,831 in available cap space, currently. And with $168,039,826 already committed in player liabilities for 2021 against a cap likely to drop as low as $175 million next year, there isn’t exactly room for a re-sign deal for Griffen anyway.
That gets back to the other point about NFL Draft capital.
Sending away draft picks in exchange for players has its rewards, yes. But one of the underlying costs is doing away with the oh-so valuable rookie contracts associated with players entering the league.
Linebacker Fred Warner and EDGE Nick Bosa are Pro Bowl-level players, whose open-market costs would be well north of $10 million to $15 million, annually, if they weren’t still on their respective rookie deals. Perhaps more. The SF 49ers just found out how much a top-performing player can cost by extending All-Pro tight end George Kittle to a deal worth $15 million per year.
That makes those rookie contracts essential once established players are able to cash in, and the Niners will need as many rookie contracts as they can get.
The 2020 NFL trade deadline is 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Nov. 3.