49ers cut bait on Isaiah Oliver, free up $2.4 million in cap space

One of former 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks' hand-picked additions is now out the door.

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Isaiah Oliver (26)
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Isaiah Oliver (26) / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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The 49ers never got what they wanted out of Isaiah Oliver last season, and he ultimately ended up getting jettisoned in a cap-saving move.

Late in the San Francisco 49ers' crop of 2023 preseason games, it became pretty apparent that inking veteran cornerback Isaiah Oliver was going to turn into a mistake.

Unlike the bulk of starters, who had long since departed those exhibition contests, Oliver was still very much on the field and playing alongside others who were merely hoping to crack the Niners' practice squad in 2023.

Originally targeted by then-defensive coordinator Steve Wilks as a free agent a year ago, the former Atlanta Falcon inked a two-year, $6.75 million contract with San Francisco as a solution to its nickel cornerback needs entering 2023.

Ultimately, though, that deal turned out to be a notable whiff.

49ers release Isaiah Oliver after just 1 unsuccessful season

Oliver struggled in coverage and in tackling during his first year with the 49ers, missing eight tackles and being credited with an opposing-quarterback passer rating of 101.0 when targeting him.

The net result was that he was benched after just six starts in favor of fellow corner Deommodore Lenoir, who moved from the boundary inside and stayed there for the rest of the season. As such, Oliver was merely a dime defensive back and rotational player who'd also double on special teams.

With the Niners pressed up against the salary cap, cutting Oliver made plenty of sense. Not only was Wilks gone, but San Francisco could free up some notable cap space by doing away with the deal after just one season.

On Friday, the 49ers announced they had officially released the 27-year-old defensive back.

Related story: What does 'dead money' mean in NFL contracts?

Granted, Oliver's original deal included $2.91 million fully guaranteed, and he'll incur a dead-cap charge of $1.464 million this year. But the Niners also generated $2.4 million in cap space with the move.

That's money likely to be well-spent elsewhere on players who'll hopefully have a sizably bigger impact than Oliver had.

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