49ers paying over $25 million to these former Niners players

The 49ers have a lot of money invested in players who are no longer donning the red and gold.
San Francisco 49ers defensive linemen DeForest Buckner (99) and Dee Ford (55)
San Francisco 49ers defensive linemen DeForest Buckner (99) and Dee Ford (55) / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

The 49ers are spending a lot of cash on former Niners who are either out of the league or playing for another squad.

Currently, according to Over the Cap, the San Francisco 49ers are $2.66 million over the actual NFL salary cap, which means some eventual tweaks and changes need to take place prior to the beginning of the regular season.

That won't be too tough. But things will get challenging for general manager John Lynch and his staff in 2024 where OTC has the Niners at $1 million over the cap already and before what's expected to be a massive contract extension for All-Pro edge Nick Bosa.

San Francisco historically has carried over unused cap space from previous years, but there isn't likely to be much left available once 2023 is finished.

And a big reason why is because the 49ers are dishing out a lot of money to players who are no longer on the roster.

Granted, this is an inevitability in the wake of post-preseason roster cuts. While many players sign with no guaranteed cash whatsoever, more established players won't ink a contract unless there's guaranteed money attached. So, even if that player fails to make a team's 53-man roster, he'll get a few bucks heading his way in the form of those guarantees.

The Niners, however, are spending more than $27 million in what's called "dead money," cash paid out to players who are no longer on the roster for one reason or another.

$27.55 million, to be precise.

These players are costing 49ers over $27 million in dead money

A handful of former San Francisco players are contributing dead cap hits, such as wide receivers Willie Snead IV and Chris Conley, who found themselves unable to make the 53-man roster and would still incur that dead money if re-signed.

But there are some big names at the top who are costing the 49ers the most, and you might recall some of their names and contracts:

  • DE Dee Ford: $8,589,999
  • QB Trey Lance: $8,361,434
  • DB Jimmie Ward: $6,395,000
  • C Alex Mack: $1,475,000
  • DE Austin Bryant: $575,000*
  • RB Trey Sermon: $451,976
  • WR Chris Conley: $450,000*
  • DT T.Y. McGill: $400,000*
  • WR Willie Snead: $275,000*
  • OL Joey Fisher: $120,000
  • FB Jack Colletto: $103,333*

* re-signed with team, either on 53-man roster or on practice squad

A few Niners returned, although that dead money will still count. But the bigger departures, which add up to over $25 million in dead money, include some well-known players, including Dee Ford, JImmie Ward, Austin Mack, and most recently, Trey Lance.

Ford, whose tenure with San Francisco was marked more by injury than anything else, restructured his deal to make the financial ramification a little less painful, but dishing out nearly $8.6 million to someone who hadn't played for the team in over a year still stings.

It almost overshadows the Lance debacle, at least from a financial perspective.

Ward and Mack had guaranteed cash prorated futher into their contracts, so those cap hits will still be there even though the former is with the Houston Texans, signing there via free agency, and the latter retired after his lone season with the 49ers in 2021.

But, before you start thinking the Niners are foolish for having so much dead cap this season, the amount is very much in the middle of the NFL pack.

In fact, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lead the league with a whopping $76.76 million in dead money, although the Cincinnati Bengals have the least with just $1.033 million in dead cash.

Looking forward, all but $5.6 million in dead money comes off the books for San Francisco in 2024.

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