With cap space to spend going into 2018 NFL Free Agency, we first take a look at the San Francisco 49ers’ highest paid players.


Prior to the arrival of general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan, the San Francisco 49ers were quite frugal when signing free agents and extending player contracts. This frugality led to a lot of losses, an empty stadium and — thanks to the NFL’s rules on rolling over unused cap space — the most salary cap space in the NFL.

Lynch’s 49ers spent more in 2017 free agency than all but one other team. Expect the Niners’ spending trend to continue in 2018, as the 49ers make a serious attempt to contend in the NFC West.

Although the 49ers have money to spend, they do have a number of sizeable contracts — many of which were signed during Lynch’s tenure. Let’s take a look at the San Francisco 49ers’ highest paid players for the upcoming 2018 season:

1. WR Pierre Garçon – $9.2 million

Needing a top receiver, Lynch signed Garçon to a 5-year, $47 million contract last offseason. The wide receiver produced as expected in 2017 until a mid-season injury sidelined him for the remainder of the year. Garçon is a possible cut candidate after 2019, when the receiver turns 33, and his salary takes a significant spike.

2. DB Jimmy Ward – $8.5 million

2018 is Ward’s “fifth-year option” season, which will net him more than he made in his previous four seasons combined. With the team’s plethora of safeties — and his history of injuries — Ward could be forced to fight for his starting free safety job, or may transition back to cornerback.

3. T Joe Staley – $7.7 million

Coming off a stellar season, Staley has two years left in his six-year contract with the 49ers. Staley’s contract includes similar salaries in the tackle’s final two seasons, so if he continues at his current level of play, he will likely finish out his current contract with the team.

4. DE Solomon Thomas – $6.4 million

Thomas was Lynch’s first draft pick as general manager. Thomas came into his own as the season progressed, but has a long way to go to justify his healthy price tag that will only grow over the next three seasons.

5. DT DeForest Buckner – $5.0 million

In his second season in the NFL, Buckner established himself as one of the best defensive tackles in the game. Buckner is signed through 2019 with a fifth-year option in 2020 — in the meantime, the 49ers are getting a deal thanks to the lineman’s rookie contract.

6. LB Malcolm Smith – $4.5 million

Lynch’s first head-scratching signing, Smith signed a five-year deal with the team before sustaining a season-ending injury before the season began. The 49ers are stuck with Smith’s contract in 2018, and probably 2019 as well. Although Smith is an upgrade over fellow linebacker Brock Coyle, both would be better served as starters on special teams and backups on defense.

7. FB Kyle Juszczyk – $4.5 million

“Juice” is the highest paid fullback in the NFL. Although the 49ers overpaid for his services, Juszczyk demonstrated his value over the season as an important part of Shanahan’s offense. The “Offensive Weapon’s” cost to the team rises to nearly $6 million in 2019, and nearly $7 million in 2020, so the upcoming season could potentially be his last with the 49ers.

8. EDGE Elvis Dumervil – $4.3 million

Elvis “Kool” Dumervil was the player the 49ers expected when they signed the veteran to a two-year contract last offseason. A team can never have too many edge rushers — and Dumervil is one of the best in recent memory — so “Kool” will likely finish his contract with the Niners.

9. OL Zane Beadles – $4.1 million

Beadles is a versatile lineman who can play anywhere on the offensive line, but is overpaid for a backup. 2018 is Beadles’ third and final year of his contract with the Niners, and he can be released with little financial penalty to the team. If the 49ers upgrade their offensive line as expected, Beadles — a class act, and a friend of Insidethe49.com — may end up playing for a different team in 2018.

10. DT Earl Mitchell – $3.9 million

Mitchell — a nose tackle who plays the pass better than the run — was an expensive signing on paper, but has a contract that the 49ers can walk away from with relatively limited financial repercussions. Mitchell is signed through 2020, but is unlikely to finish out his contract with the team.


The San Francisco 49ers’ list of highest paid players will surely look vastly different by the beginning of the 2018 NFL season.

The post 49ers and the 2018 salary cap: San Francisco’s highest paid players appeared first on FanRag Sports.

About the Author: Chris Wilson

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