5 easy cuts that would save 49ers over $40 million in cap space

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers have to tread carefully with their projected cap space in 2022, but these five cuts could easily free up more than $40 million.

If there’s good news for the San Francisco 49ers heading into the 2022 offseason, they’ve got an excellent core group of players who won’t be going anywhere in the immediate future.

That bodes well for a team coming up just short of making the Super Bowl last season and one transitioning into a new era of quarterbacking with last year’s No. 3 overall NFL Draft pick, Trey Lance.

Still, general manager John Lynch and the front office have to navigate the offseason carefully.

True, the 2022 NFL salary cap is expected to jump all the way up to $208.2 million, according to Over the Cap, which is a significant increase from the $182.5 million where it was in 2021. That said, the Niners currently have only $5.1 million in projected cap space this year.

Not exactly enough to extend marquee players like wide receiver Deebo Samuel and EDGE Nick Bosa, who’ll be due lucrative extensions this season, and it won’t help with re-signing key contributors like left guard Laken Tomlinson and nose tackle D.J. Jones either.

However, San Francisco can clear a significantly large amount of cap space, approximately $42 million, if it decides to part ways with these five players during the offseason.

49ers Cut No. 5: Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo

Cap Space Saved: $25.55 million ($1.4 million in dead money)

The word “cut” here is somewhat misleading, as the 49ers would ideally like trading quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo during the offseason to recoup some of the costs associated with moving up to draft Lance.

Considering a weak offseason quarterback market, trading Garoppolo seems likely.

At any rate, the numbers behind moving Garoppolo (either via a cut or a trade) are identical, and his contract numbers for 2022 are the proverbial “elephant in the room” when it comes to being able to free up cap space.

Garoppolo is owed $27 million this year, the final season of that original five-year contract signed back in 2018. Yet the Niners can clear all but $1.4 million of that by moving him, and that’s almost guaranteed a transaction after they acted so aggressively to grab Lance last offseason.

With Lance entering year two of his cheap rookie contract, moving Garoppolo this offseason guarantees San Francisco will be able to retain those other core players like Samuel and Bosa, while also having a much better chance re-signing Jones and Tomlinson.

Well over half of the money to be saved will be generated by jettisoning Jimmy G.