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Monday, February 9, 2009
Easy money? How the 49ers can save

By Mike Sando

49ers Player 2009 Salary Cap Value Value if Released
Alex Smith
$12.3M $5.3M
Jonas Jennings
$6.6M $3.5M
Michael Lewis
Isaac Bruce
$2.0M $500K
Mark Roman
$1.4M $500K
Posted by's Mike Sando

Following up on our previous items about NFC West salary-cap situations, here's a look at how the 49ers could create additional cap space heading into free agency:

Current cap room: $12 million

Projected functional cap room for free agency: $20 million to $30 million

How the 49ers could create more room: The 49ers plan to release quarterback Alex Smith or rework his contract. Releasing Smith would clear $7 million in 2009 cap space.

The chart shows the difference between how much selected players' contracts count against the salary cap depending on roster status. I generally singled out players you have asked about through the mailbag or comments sections of various blog entries. The team appears to want Smith back at a reduced rate. Jonas Jennings appears vulnerable to release.

Most of the 49ers' higher-priced players remain productive starters, from Justin Smith to Frank Gore to Nate Clements.