NFL Free Agency

49ers create valuable salary-cap space by releasing CB Oliver

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The 49ers began their financial maneuverings Friday, just hours after the NFL announced a salary cap increase of more than $30 million for the 2024 season.

San Francisco released veteran cornerback Isaiah Oliver, which creates an immediate $2.4 million in cap savings.

Oliver signed a two-year, $6.75 million 49ers contract as an unrestricted free agent last offseason to replace Jimmie Ward as San Francisco's top nickel back.

However, Oliver struggled in that role and ultimately was used exclusively on special teams.

Starting cornerback Deommodore Lenoir took over at nickel back for Oliver in the middle of the season with Ambry Thomas entering games in nickel situations to take over for Lenoir on the outside.

After Thomas struggled mightily late in the season, the 49ers ended up going with veteran Logan Ryan, a midseason pickup, to play nickel back in the team’s Super Bowl LVIII loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

One of the 49ers’ top offseason priorities figures to be finding a player to strengthen the team’s ability to cover the opposition’s slot receiver.

Oliver, a six-year veteran, played his first five NFL seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. He appeared in all 17 regular-season games and started six games with the 49ers.

The 27-year-old was replaced as the nickel back after the 49ers experienced a three-game losing streak heading into their Week 9 bye.

While in pass coverage, Oliver surrendered 46 completions on 51 passes in which he targeted, per Pro Football Focus. He gave up 320 yards receiving and three touchdowns, while intercepting just one pass.

Oliver’s contract with the 49ers included $2.91 million of fully guaranteed money. While their decision to release him saves them salary cap room, he will still count $1.46 million in dead money against San Francisco's 2024 salary cap.

The NFL on Friday set the salary cap at $255.4 million per team, a $30.6 million increase from last season.

The 49ers have 56 players under contract and are now a projected $2.3 million under the salary cap, per During the offseason, only the top 51 players count against the salary cap.

Oliver now is a free agent and able to sign with any team at any time. Because the 49ers released him, Oliver will not count against the 49ers’ compensatory formula.

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