Predicting 3 cap casualties SF 49ers will cut to free up money in 2021

Weston Richburg #58 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Weston Richburg #58 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Dee Ford, SF 49ers
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Dee Ford (55) Mandatory Credit: San Francisco 49ers/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Network /

No. 3: SF 49ers EDGE Dee Ford

The first player on this list, EDGE Dee Ford, is a bit trickier than some of the other cap casualties San Francisco might have to deal with this offseason.

From a financial standpoint, moving on from a player who missed all but one game last season with an injury yet cost the SF 49ers $6.38 million would make a lot of sense. Especially considering he’s due to make over $20 million in 2021, and his status for the start of the regular season is quite unclear.

But as NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco pointed out, cutting Ford isn’t as simple as it seems:

"He is scheduled to make $15.15 million in base salary for the 2021 season. Ford would certainly be a salary-cap casualty this offseason, but his contract complicates the matter for the 49ers. … But Ford has an injury guarantee written into his contract. If he remains on the 49ers’ roster on April 1, $11.6 million of his base salary becomes fully guaranteed."

The injury guarantee is what makes this complex here. So it’s safe to say the Niners are going to be monitoring that closely and hoping Ford is at 100 percent where he can be cleared.

If not, San Francisco would have to eat that $11.6 million in guarantees for next season, which would make things awfully tough.

There’s always the hope he comes back to full form. But accounting for 11 percent of the team’s 2021 projected salary cap, paired with his history of injuries, points in the direction of Ford not being with the SF 49ers this upcoming season if he winds up being cleared.