49ers

49ers set aside cap space with an eye to the future

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USATSI

49ers set aside cap space with an eye to the future

The first wave of free agency is over, and the 49ers struck quickly.

The club identified two players coach Kyle Shanahan tabbed as fits for his offense and they paid the money it took to get them.

General manager John Lynch said there were five teams seriously interested in free-agent running back Jerick McKinnon. Even more teams were going after center Weston Richburg, he said.

That drove up the prices on McKinnon and Richburg to the point that they rank behind only quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo ($37 million) as taking up the most cap space among the 72 players currently under contract to the 49ers.

McKinnon and Richburg account for $10.5 million and $9.26 million, respectively, on the 49ers' salary cap. Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman's deal takes up $6.175 million on the 49ers' cap this season.

The big spending to attract free agents to the team is likely over. The 49ers have $45.1 million in cap space, according to the NFL Players Association. That figure does not include a projected $8.3 million to sign their 2018 rookie class, according to overthecap.com.

The major spending for this offseason is over because the 49ers have apparently looked to the future and set aside cap space with the idea of retaining some of their own players whose contracts are winding down.

The first decisions for the future must occur by May 3, the deadline for picking up the fifth-year options on first-round picks from the 2015 draft. The 49ers have decisions to make on defensive lineman Arik Armstread and left guard Laken Tomlinson, who was acquired from Detroit in a trade just prior to the start of the 2017 regular season.

It is still unclear how or if Armstead’s skills fit into the 49ers’ defense. He opened last season at the team's pass-rush end before moving to the "big end," which also appears to be first-round pick Solomon Thomas' best position.

Tomlinson showed reasons for the 49ers to be optimistic about his future as his play got better as he acclimated to the offense. Among the guards already on the 49ers’ roster, Tomlinson appears to be the most likely to be a starter in 2018.

Presumptive starting safeties Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents next offseason. Ward’s fifth-year option deal of one-year, $8.526 million became fully guaranteed last Wednesday. But in order for the 49ers to make a multi-year commitment, Ward would likely have to prove he can remain healthy and available for a full season.

DeForest Buckner is likely the target for the next blockbuster contract extension. Buckner has emerged as one of the top young defensive linemen in the league. Next offseason will be the first time the 49ers are permitted to negotiate a multi-year extension with him.

With a scarcity of offensive linemen available in the draft and free agency, right tackle Trent Brown could be set to cash in with an enormous deal next offseason – either with the 49ers or some other team.

UPCOMING 49ERS FREE AGENTS
2019
DL Arik Armstead
FS Jimmie Ward
SS Jaquiski Tartt
RT Trent Brown
LB Eli Harold
LG Laken Tomlinson
K Robbie Gould
P Bradley Pinion

2020
DL DeForest Buckner
LT Joe Staley
OG Joshua Garnett
DL Ronald Blair
TE Garrett Celek
RB Matt Breida (RFA)
WR Kendrick Bourne (RFA)

Marcus Allen calls T.O.'s decision to skip Hall of Fame ceremony 'mind-boggling'

Marcus Allen calls T.O.'s decision to skip Hall of Fame ceremony 'mind-boggling'

Former Raiders running back Marcus Allen knows a thing or two about the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

August marks 15 years since his induction, which came six years after his retirement from the NFL. He told NBC Sports Bay Area's Kelli Johnson and Monte Poole during The Happy Hour on Friday that the honor's meaning was "hard to put into words."

Consider Allen surprised, then, that soon-to-be-inducted Terrell Owens will skip the ceremony in Canton, OH on August 4. 

"It's mind-boggling to me because I think there is no greater platform in the football world than the Hall of Fame to really sort of say 'thank you' to all the people that have helped you get there," Allen said from the American Century Championship Celebrity Golf Tournament in Lake Tahoe. 

"No man's an island. We didn't get there by ourselves," Allen continued. "My father [introduced me] and I wanted the world to know who supported me [along the way]."

Allen added that he thinks Owens will regret the decision in the long run. 

The former 49ers wide receiver will commemorate his induction on August 4 with a speech at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga at 3:17 p.m. CT (1:17 p.m. PT), hours before the festivities in Canton. The Hall of Fame won't mention Owens at the ceremony, but will maill him his gold jacket that day.

Jerry Rice emphatically (and profanely) makes his case as the G.O.A.T

Jerry Rice emphatically (and profanely) makes his case as the G.O.A.T

Legendary wide receiver Jerry Rice has a case as good as anyone as the greatest football player of all time.

He is a three-time Super Bowl champion, a 13-time Pro Bowl pick and a 10-time first-team All-Pro. He's the NFL career leader in receptions (1,549), receiving yards (22,895), and total touchdowns (208). 

But you don't need us to tell you. The former 49ers and Raiders wideout made the case for himself with some colorful language to Charles Barkley at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship in Lake Tahoe. 

We couldn't have put it better ourselves.