The SF 49ers face a sticky situation this offseason with a lowering salary cap and limited cap space, meaning these high-priced players could be gone.
In some regard, the SF 49ers‘ upcoming 2021 offseason will be the trickiest yet for general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan.
A year removed from a Super Bowl appearance and on the tail of an injury-riddled and likely disappointing follow-up 2020 campaign, Lynch and Shanahan find themselves facing an arduous task of keeping the Niners’ Super Bowl window open while having to turn over a good chunk of the roster in light of a salary cap expected to drop as low as $175 million next year.
Currently, San Francisco is projected to have just over $23 million in cap space next season. But the team also has 39 players pegged for free agency in one form or another. And there are some big-name players, too, including left tackle Trent Williams, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, cornerback Richard Sherman, safety Jaquiski Tartt and cornerback K’Waun Williams.
Not all of them will be back next year.
Additionally, the SF 49ers have to start thinking about costly extensions for up-and-coming players like linebacker Fred Warner and EDGE Nick Bosa, which won’t be cheap and mandates the need to clear cap space.
The Niners already started this process, trading away high-priced linebacker Kwon Alexander to the New Orleans Saints just before the deadline, freeing up much-needed capital.
But that could be only the start of some highly paid players the SF 49ers move on from in 2021. Here are five others.
No. 5: SF 49ers Cornerback Richard Sherman
Average Salary per Year: $9,050,000
Turning 33 years old next season, Sherman figures to be a player the Niners won’t prioritize re-signing.
Limited to just one game in 2020 due to a calf injury, Sherman has dealt with injuries ever since inking his three-year free-agent deal with San Francisco back in 2018. Essentially, 2019 was the only fully healthy year he’s had with the team, and he’s appeared in just 30 games out of a possible 42 over that three-year stretch.
Despite Sherman’s elongated absence this year, the SF 49ers have still boasted the league’s No. 4-ranked pass defense this season, which is pretty incredible considering the wholesale lack of a pass rush.
This, thanks to fellow corners like Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley holding their own.
Sherman does have value, both as a Super Bowl champion and veteran mentor. But unless it’s a bargain-basement deal, San Francisco won’t hesitate to move on.