How new $182.5M NFL salary cap for 2021 affects the 49ers

Trent Williams

NFL teams are being informed Wednesday that the NFL's new salary cap for 2021 is being set at $182.5 million, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

That nearly is a $16 million drop from last season, as ESPN's Adam Schefter noted. 

Most of the drop is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The salary cap is based on team's revenues, and with a limited number of fans allowed at games last season (or none at all), teams lost a large chunk of change. Prior to the pandemic, it was expected the NFL's new media deal would significantly raise the salary cap upwards of $215 million.

However, it now sits about $32.5 million less than that. 

The new figures gives the 49ers just under $24 million in salary-cap space, which is the 11th-most in the NFL, according to OverTheCap.com. They sit right behind the Miami Dolphins and right ahead of the Seattle Seahawks. Just one year ago, the 49ers ranked No. 27 in salary-cap space.

Coming into the offseason, the 49ers had a long list of key players set to become free agents. That remains true, and it all starts with offensive tackle Trent Williams. But it sounds like Williams likes the idea of remaining in the Bay Area.

"I've got him staying in San Francisco for The Faithful," Richard Sherman said on the "The Cris Collinsworth Podcast with Richard Sherman." "I think he stays in San Francisco. I think he makes you guys happy for another five, six years, and gets his gold jacket, and decides whether he wants it in Washington or San Francisco."


"That's not a bad take, fellas," Williams responded. "That's not a bad take. You all are barking up the right tree."

RELATED: How Williams' market value increased before NFL free agency

Sherman is a 49ers free agent himself, as well as fellow defensive backs Jason Verrett, K'Waun Williams, Emmanuel Moseley, Ahkello Witherspoon and Jaquiski Tartt. On offense, Williams is joined by fullback Kyle Juszczyk and Kendrick Bourne as key free agents. 

The 49ers are in better shape than they could have been coming into free agency, but this new salary-cap number is about to hurt a whole lot of veterans.

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