NFL free agency 2023: 49ers must go after these potential cap casualties

Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett (58) Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett (58) Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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The 49ers aren’t swimming in cap space right now, but there could be some likable cap casualties from other teams in NFL free agency this offseason.

The 2023 NFL salary cap is expected to jump to $224.8 million, according to Over the Cap, and that should ultimately save plenty of teams from having to make some awfully tough roster decisions.

Particularly the cap-casualty variety.

Still, nearly a third of the league is in the red and will need to trim some contracts down to get their 51 highest-paid players underneath that threshold by the start of the league new year this March.

For the San Francisco 49ers, they aren’t in salary-cap hell. However, according to OTC, they have just over $8 million in cap space available.

That number will change a lot in the coming weeks and months, so let’s not focus too much on the specific number.

Instead, let’s accept the fact the Niners have some cash available and could potentially be active on the NFL free agency market, especially if it involves going after some of those cap casualties.

Such as these four who would be attractive additions.

49ers cap-casualty target No. 4: EDGE Shaquil Barrett, Buccaneers

One of those teams in salary-cap hell is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Even with quarterback Tom Brady retiring, the need to trim contracts in a hefty manner is going to be a priority for the Bucs this offseason.

It’s likely Tampa Bay moves on from veteran pass-rusher Shaquil Barrett, who had a league-best 19.5 sacks back in 2019 and 10 more in 2021, but he only had three last season amid a slew of injuries that led to him playing in only eight games.

Barrett will turn 31 years old this season but could still be a productive pass-rusher to pair with Defensive Player of the Year candidate, Nick Bosa, who led the NFL in sacks this season but had no one with more than five sacks to help him.

With the recent string of injuries and being on the wrong side of 30 years old, Barrett’s price tag just went down considerably.