The 49ers needed to clear salary cap space regardless of extending Nick Bosa, and doing so with Trent Williams and George Kittle helped free up a lot.
A lot happened for the San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday, Sept. 6.
The biggest news, of course, was the blockbuster extension for All-Pro defensive end Nick Bosa, one that'll pay him $170 million over five years with $122.5 of that guaranteed.
It also makes the reigning Defensive Player of the Year the most expensive defender in NFL history.
The extension should help alleviate some of the Niners' salary cap concerns right ahead of the 2023 regular season, even if Bosa's $34 million annual average will get costly in upcoming seasons. By prorating a signing bonus over the lifespan of a contract, Bosa's total cap hit this year should be a bit less, although the full details of his extension aren't yet known.
Either way, San Francisco was right up against the salary cap at this point. According to Over the Cap, general manager John Lynch and Co. had a mere $227,392 in cap space to begin Wednesday.
After some other notable transactions, OTC now has the 49ers up to $23.92 million in space.
How did they get there?
49ers restructure George Kittle, Trent Williams' contracts to create $23.2 million in cap space
With the top-51 rule going away on Wednesday, many teams across the league set out to restructure contracts. If you're unfamiliar with how this works, OTC has an excellent breakdown here and describes it in the following way:
"A simple restructure converts payments into prorated signing bonuses within the confines of the remainder of the contract. Teams typically have the ability to unilaterally execute simple restructures without any action necessary from the player.
"A maximum restructure increases the amount of cap space via conversion into prorated signing bonuses by either extending the contract or by adding void years to a contract, years that do not extend the contract but are only used as placeholders for the proration. Maximum restructures are typically considered a renegotiation of the contract that requires the player's consent to execute."
Two of the Niners' higher-paid players, left tackle Trent Williams and tight end George Kittle, ended up having their contracts restructured, as first reported by ESPN's Field Yates on Wednesday:
Both players had void years added onto their current contracts, which means San Francisco will be paying both when they're potentially no longer with the team.
With the NFL salary cap expected to rise significantly in upcoming years, however, it could end up being a smart financial move from the 49ers' vantage point.
And it probably negates our prediction that both could be salary cap casualties for the Niners in the near future, too.
Oh well. It doesn't hurt to be wrong there.
Regardless, San Francisco now has the second most salary cap space in all of the entire NFL, trailing only the Cleveland Browns, who have more than $35 million in the wake of their own restructures.