3 ways 49ers can clear over $33 million in cap space

Dee Ford #55 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Dee Ford #55 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Dee Ford, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Dee Ford (55) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers salary cap move No. 3: Release EDGE Dee Ford after June 1

The first cap-saving move John Lynch and the 49ers could do is going to be a painful one, at least in terms of the dead money that’ll still be committed in contrast to what’s saved overall.

EDGE Dee Ford has already cost the Niners millions upon millions despite only appearing in 18 regular-season games for San Francisco ever since being acquired (and then extended) from the Kansas City Chiefs for a second-round draft pick early in 2019.

While Ford has made an impact, including 6.5 sacks that first season with the Niners, the bulk of his tenure has been marked by injuries, namely a serious back injury that limited him to just one game played in 2020 and then resurfacing again in 2021, limiting him to six games played during that campaign.

Lynch has essentially admitted Ford won’t suit up with San Francisco again, but cutting him now would tack on nearly $7.5 million more in dead money. However, the post-June 1 designation of a release is much more cost-effective, saving the 49ers $1.12 million in cap space but also still having to take on over $5.8 million in dead money for 2022, then the same amount in 2023 with three additional void years beyond that, each carrying $920,000 in dead money.

Yes, Ford’s acquisition and contract are parts of those hindsight moves the Niners wish they never made but ultimately did, and it’ll be felt through 2026.

Still, it’s best to clear at least some money while they still can.