How CMC's reworked contract helps 49ers sign 2023 draft picks


The 49ers created significant salary-cap space with a reworked contract for running back Christian McCaffrey.

However, that does not mean another big roster move is coming.

Now, the 49ers will have more than enough salary-cap space to sign each of their nine draft picks.

“It just gives us some room,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said Saturday at the conclusion of the 2023 NFL Draft. “We were pressed right up there when we were to sign our rookies.

“We wanted to have some flexibility and it made sense. Christian’s going to be here, simple conversion, and we did it, and we’re thankful to Christian for agreeing to do it. Good thing for him. Good thing for us.”

The basics of a roster conversion means McCaffrey still will receive every penny of his scheduled $11.8 million base salary for the 2023 NFL season. Now, his pay will come in the form of a $10.72 million signing bonus and a base salary of $1.08 million.

The signing bonus will count $2.114 million annually on the team’s salary cap for each of the next five years. Therefore, the contract “conversion” created $8.576 million in cap space for the 49ers. The 49ers are currently $10.66 million under the cap, according to NFL Players Association figures.

The 49ers’ rookie pool for signing their draft picks is approximately $7.7 million.

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Teams also typically keep some cap space in reserve for the likelihood that more money will be spent once the season begins for players going on injured reserve and other players moved up to the 53-man roster to replace them.

McCaffrey is signed to the 49ers through the 2025 season with scheduled salaries of $11.8 million in 2024 and $12 million in 2025. Two additional “void” years were added to allow for more flexibility on the salary cap.

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