One of the biggest things the 49ers have in their favor going into this offseason is money. Lots of it.
The 49ers are projected to have more room under the salary cap than any other team in the NFL, according to Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. The 49ers will have about $119 million of salary-cap space available going into 2018. The Cleveland Browns ($112 million) and Indianapolis Colts ($35 million) are second and third.
All that money means the 49ers can accomplish goal No. 1 – signing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a large, multi-year deal – and still have plenty left over to offer other free agents at key positions on offense and defense.
As Wagoner noted, the 49ers under general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan were aggressive in free agency last year, bringing in a number of veterans, such as wideouts Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, pass rusher Elvis Dumervil and linebacker Malcolm Smith,without breaking the team’s bank.
Now, going into Year No. 2, the 49ers remain in good financial position to have contract flexibility. And, with Garoppolo and some other good, young talent, the 49ers could now be an attractive landing spot for free agents.
“Kyle and I both believe in being aggressive (in free agency), but also you don’t do things just because you have all this money,” Lynch told Wagoner. “We have an ownership group that we’re very thankful for. When we don’t spend to the cap, they don’t put that in their pocket and say, ‘Thanks, guys.’ They roll it over to the next year. We’ll be patient but also aggressive. If we see fit, the opportunity to go get someone who can really improve us, we’ll certainly take that opportunity.”
This year, Lynch and Shanahan can begin making moves to bring in veterans on March 12, when they can start negotiations with pending unrestricted free agents.