49ers

49ers projected $60M in salary cap space with free agency a month away

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AP

49ers projected $60M in salary cap space with free agency a month away

The 49ers are projected to have the seventh-most salary-cap space in the NFL at the beginning of the free-agent signing period on March 13.

The contract and salary-cap crunching website, OverTheCap.com, lists the 49ers with $60 million in space after the NFL Players Association reported the club rolled over $35 million in unspent cap money from 2018.

The 49ers last month informed veteran nose tackle Earl Mitchell they will not pick up the option on his contract, making him an unrestricted free agent next month. That move will create another $2.95 million in cap savings this year.

The 49ers can create additional space if they choose not to pick up the 2019 contracts for such players as wide receiver Pierre Garçon ($1.075 million savings) and linebacker Malcolm Smith ($1.25 million).

“All of these scenarios, we’re always looking forward and doing a lot of planning,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said last month at the Senior Bowl.

Backup offensive tackle Garry Gilliam and edge rusher Cassius Marsh also are on the books for $5 million and $4.2 million, respectively.

The Indianapolis Colts are projected to have $105 million at the start of free agency, according to OverTheCap.com, followed by the New York Jets ($95 million), Cleveland Browns ($80 million), Buffalo Bills ($79 million), Oakland Raiders ($71 million), Houston Texans ($64 million), the 49ers ($60 million), Seattle Seahawks ($51 million), Cincinnati Bengals ($50 million) and Arizona Cardinals ($47 million).

The following are the 2019 salary-cap figures for the 49ers’ top-paid players, via OverTheCap.com and the NFL Players Association:

Quarterback
Jimmy Garoppolo $19.35 million
C.J. Beathard $962,358
Nick Mullens $570,000

Running back
Jerick McKinnon $6 million
Kyle Juszczyk $5.95 million
Matt Breida $646,668
Matt Dayes $645,000

Wide receiver
Pierre Garçon $8.275 million
Marquise Goodwin $4.125 million
Dante Pettis $1.45 million
Trent Taylor $695,487
Kendrick Bourne $646,668
Richie James $589,143

Tight end
Garrett Celek $2.725
George Kittle $719,574

Offensive line
Joe Staley $10.95 million
Weston Richburg $7.86 million
Garry Gilliam $5.05 million
Mike McGlinchey $4.17 million
Laken Tomlinson $3.75 million
Joshua Garnett $2.96 million
Shon Coleman $2 million
Erik Magnuson $646,334

Defensive line
Arik Armstead $9.05 million*
Solomon Thomas $7.68 million
DeForest Buckner $5.79 million
Cassius Marsh $4.2 million
(Earl Mitchell $1.5 million)
Ronald Blair $787,601
Sheldon Day $720,000
D.J. Jones $681,967
Kentavius Street $647,500
Julian Taylor $594,511
Ryan Delaire $645,000
*Fifth-year option becomes fully guaranteed on March 13

Linebacker
Malcolm Smith $5.45 million
Brock Coyle $3.2 million
Dekoda Watson $1.88 million
Fred Warner $915,684
Pita Taumoepenu $645,000
James Onwualu $645,000

Defensive back
Richard Sherman $9.8 million
Jaquiski Tartt $4.85 million
K’Waun Williams $2.6 million
Ahkello Witherspoon $1.06 million
Tarvarius Moore $799,093
Adrian Colbert $666,200
D.J. Reed $647,843
Marcell Harris $611,575

Specialist
Colin Holba $645,000
(All others under contract but not listed have cap figures of 2019 for $570,000 or less.)

Free agents
K Robbie Gould
DB Jimmie Ward
OG Mike Person
P Bradley Pinion
LB Mark Nzeocha
RB Alfred Morris
DB Antone Exum
RB Raheem Mostert (restricted)
LB Elijah Lee (exclusive rights)

49ers' Kyle Shanahan ranked as 23rd-best veteran head coach by NFL.com

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USATSI

49ers' Kyle Shanahan ranked as 23rd-best veteran head coach by NFL.com

The first two years of 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan's tenure has been light on wins, yet expectations remain high. 

San Francisco was 10-22 in Shanahan's first two seasons at the helm, searching for a quarterback before acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo in 2017 and scrambling to replace him after he tore his ACL last year. There have been some promising moments, but not enough to move the 49ers out of the top 10 of the NFL draft in either of the last two years. 

Because of that, NFL.com's Elliot Harrison ranked Shanahan 23rd out of the 26 returning NFL head coaches. 

This might not be a fair ranking for a guy who kept the 49ers competitive in the second half of the season while having to play musical chairs at quarterback," Harrison wrote. "The problem here is that Shanahan hasn't really accomplished anything yet as a head coach, which makes the criteria for evaluating his performance somewhat narrow."

To his credit, Shanahan coached up two rosters short on talent. The 49ers finished in the top half of the league in total offense in each of the last two seasons, despite Garoppolo only making eight starts. 

But the 49ers have not had the same success on defense, and heavily invested on that side of the ball over the offseason. The potential for improvement is there in 2019, but San Francisco enters the year having won fewer than a third of its games under Shanahan.

[RELATED: Why Peter King thinks Jimmy G is key to 49ers' playoff hopes]

"That [10-22] record isn't masked by the obvious upside of the roster, or the potential many see in Shanahan," Harrison continued. " ... Shanahan seems to be a good communicator, and is both confident and comfortable with himself. Whether that will translate into contention in the NFC West remains to be seen."

A 2019 turnaround should move Shanahan up Harrison's rankings. After his first two seasons coaching the 49ers, there isn't much room anywhere else. 

Jimmy Garoppolo calls learning from Tom Brady on Patriots 'invaluable'

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USATSI

Jimmy Garoppolo calls learning from Tom Brady on Patriots 'invaluable'

Jimmy Garoppolo spent three-and-a-half seasons as Tom Brady's backup quarterback in New England. Over that span, the 49ers' current QB appeared in only 17 games, starting two. 

Still, he learned plenty behind the six-time Super Bowl winner. 

More than anything, Garoppolo witnessed the immense amount of preparation Brady put into his game every day.  Garoppolo recently told The Ringer's Kevin Clark that it was "invaluable" to watch the legendary signal-caller as his backup.

"I can barely put it into words. What you learn is playing the game within the game, that’s a big part of Tom," Garoppolo said. "I don’t even know if he told me that [directly], but he would always talk about the game within the game." 

The story has been told time and time again. Brady beat the odds years ago as a sixth-round draft pick who ran the 40-yard dash in quicksand. Garoppolo emphasized that sweating the small stuff made Brady a Patriots legend and an all-time great. 

"The little details and how he ties them all together -- that’s what separates you," Garoppolo said. 

[RELATED: Why Peter King thinks Jimmy G is key to 49ers' playoff hopes]

The two QBs have remained friends after Garoppolo was traded to the 49ers on Halloween in 2017. They were even seen together at the Kentucky Derby this year.

As much knowledge as Garoppolo soaked up from Brady, the 49ers hope it shows in a healthy year this season.