John Lynch

John Lynch explains why 49ers created NFL-leading $41M in cap space

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The 49ers have six players who rank among the NFL’s top-three paid at their positions.

They have nine players whose annual pay falls from $34 million to $13.5 million.

It is a team with a lot of highly paid star power, for sure.

And after a round of recent contract adjustments to move some money around, the 49ers also have the most salary-cap space of any team in the NFL.

And it’s not even close.

The 49ers are currently $41.2 million under the league’s $224.8 million salary cap, according to NFL Players Association figures. The Cleveland Browns are next with $34 million in cap space, followed by the Arizona Cardinals with a $14 million cap cushion.

General manager John Lynch told NBC Sports Bay Area the idea with the recent restructured contracts of Arik Armstead, Trent Williams and George Kittle is to set the 49ers up for the future.

“Really, we always look at the cap for three years out,” he said. “Obviously, we have all that room this year. But really it’s to create room for future years because we roll everything over. It helps us in future years because it creates some room we’re going to need.”

All unused cap space from one season rolls over to the next season. The 49ers have $280 million worth of contracts for the 2024 season. The NFL salary cap is expected to be in the range of $256 million next year, according to projections from

If the 49ers are going to keep the nucleus of their team together, they must find a way to account for the future cap figures of Williams, Armstead, Kittle, Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, Deebo Samuel, Javon Hargrave, Christian McCaffrey, Charvarius Ward and others.

Also, wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk and the 49ers are likely to enter into negotiations on a multi-year contract extension next summer.

And two years down the road, Brock Purdy could have a new deal that brings his contract more in line with some of the top starting quarterbacks in the NFL.

Currently, Purdy is the third highest-paid quarterback on the 49ers -- behind Sam Darnold and Brandon Allen -- and ranks 81st in the league at $934,253 a year.

Lynch said the 49ers did not create the cap space to spend this season. But he also did not entirely rule out the possibility.

After all, there is no telling if the 49ers might find it necessary to make any notable roster additions before the Oct. 31 NFL trade deadline.

“We’ve pretty much done what we’re going to do this year,” Lynch said. “But you never know with the trade deadline and all that.”

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