49ers salary cap: 5 biggest contracts entering 2022

George Kittle #85 celebrates with Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
George Kittle #85 celebrates with Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
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Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers salary cap for 2022 isn’t in the worst of situations but is nevertheless projected to be over the reported $208.2 million threshold.

General manager John Lynch will have to get the San Francisco 49ers salary cap for the 2022 offseason down below the estimated $208.2 million ceiling by the start of the league new year, which kicks off at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 16.

Currently, according to Over the Cap, the 49ers salary cap is projected to be in the red, over that mark by $4.478 million.

While being over the cap is generally a concern, the Niners’ own situation isn’t terrible. Typically, good teams find themselves pressed up against the salary cap because they have good players, and good players tend to cost more money than bad ones.

It’s why bad teams tend to have a lot of cap space, too.

Still, Lynch will have to anticipate his team making some modest waves in free agency this offseason while also allocating roughly $8 million for San Francisco’s 2022 NFL Draft class.

It’s also important to note only the top 51 contracts count against the salary cap during the offseason, but the big-name deals are the ones we’ll focus on here.

Let’s take a quick look at the five players scheduled to make the most money in 2022.

Note: All cap figures and contract info courtesy of Over the Cap.

49ers salary cap player No. 1: QB Jimmy Garoppolo

2022 scheduled salary: $26.95 million

Not surprisingly, starting-caliber quarterbacks are worth more than any other position, especially if they’ve reached beyond an initial rookie contract.

Jimmy Garoppolo enters the final year of that initial five-year, $137.5 million contract signed early in 2018, which made him the highest-paid quarterback at the time the deal was done. Yet Garoppolo’s guaranteed money (considered the most important part of any contract) expired in 2021, and the 49ers are poised to clear $25.55 million in cap space if they move on from him this offseason.

And that’s the projected plan, costing the Niners just $1.4 million in dead money.

Related Story: How a Jimmy Garoppolo trade would impact 49ers salary cap

Garoppolo’s heir apparent, Trey Lance, is on one of those rookie contracts and is scheduled to make $7.75 million in 2022, which is money already accounted for in the team’s cap figures.

The money saved is going to be cash San Francisco will use to continue surrounding Lance with as many weapons as possible for the next three-plus years.