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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Samson Ebukam, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Samson Ebukam (56) Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers Cut No. 2: EDGE Samson Ebukam

Cap Space Saved: $6.5 million ($1.75 million in dead money)

For the first half of 2021, it was looking as if one of San Francisco’s higher-profile NFL free agency signings, EDGE Samson Ebukam, was going to be a massive bust.

But Ebukam finished off the year strong, registering 5.5 sacks over his final eight games including the playoffs. And while the 49ers’ top sack specialist on the season, Nick Bosa, received all the publicity with his team-best 15.5 sacks, players like Ebukam were also impressive enough to supplement the pass rush.

Even above-average pass-rushers are expensive on the open market, and it’s often a hit-or-miss process landing a mid-level one in the NFL Draft.

Yet the Niners may be forced to choose between Ebukam and fellow defensive lineman Arden Key, whose 6.5 regular-season sacks ranked second on the defense behind Bosa. Key, a free agent in 2022, will be looking to cash in on a quality deal, and it’s pretty evident his fit with San Francisco proved to be more consistent and helpful than most of what Ebukam was to offer.

Again, it’s always a good idea to have more pass-rushers than necessary, and retaining Ebukam does have its merits.

But if the 49ers are looking to free up cap space while hoping to re-sign Key and get 2021-levels of production from him, Ebukam might have to go.