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San Francisco 49ers salary cap outlook: Colin Kaepernick, Aldon Smith are bargains

Shutdown Corner

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Colin Kaepernick is a bargain for the 49ers (USA Today Sports Images)

The "Shutdown Countdown" is all wrapped up. In addition to previewing each team, Shutdown Corner has been taking a brief look at each team's salary cap situation heading into the 2013 season and beyond. We conclude the series with the San Francisco 49ers.

2013 Adjusted Cap Number: $125.773 million (20th-highest in the NFL in 2013)

2013 Cap Room Remaining: $7.437 million (16th in the NFL, as of Aug. 3)

Best Bargain: As is the case with the bitter NFC West rivals up I-5, the 49ers are getting outstanding value at their starting quarterback position. Colin Kaepernick took the league by storm midway through the 2012 season, completing 62.4 percent of his pass attempts for 1,814 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions with 415 yards and five touchdowns on the ground in the regular season before leading the 49ers to an NFC championship.

Kaepernick is entering the third season of a four-year, $5.124 million contract that included $3.8 millioin guaranteed money, including $590,314 of his $740,844 base salary in 2013. With a $100,000 workout bonus, Kaepernick will take home just over $840,000, which ranks 58th among NFL quarterback contracts. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who Kaepernick could very well face in Super Bowl XLVIII, will earn $882,353 per week during the regular season.

All-Pro outside linebacker Aldon Smith is also a tremendous bargain with a $1,682,637 base salary and $3,922,910 cap hit in 2013. Smith's salary ranks 25th among NFL linebackers, narrowly edging out former 49ers linebacker Manny Lawson, who has 30 fewer sacks than Smith has over the last two seasons. All-Pro guard Mike Iupati will earn $1.302 million in cash this season ($1.002 million base salary plus $300,000 in "per game" roster bonuses), which ranks 44th among current guard contracts.

Potential Camp Cap Casualty: The 49ers losing cornerback Chris Culliver likely means that Carlos Rogers' spot on the team is safe. However, the 49ers might turn to Rogers for a pay cut. The veteran is due $5.5 million in base salary — $1.75 million is fully guaranteed — with $250,000 in "per game active" roster bonuses That might be too steep for a 32-year-old cornerback who might have been on the outs had Culliver stayed healthy and earned a starting job.

49ers with high base salaries who could be turned to for a restructure include Vernon Davis ($6.072 million base salary plus $400,000 in "per game roster bonuses), Frank Gore ($3.3 million base salary, $2.75 million in roster bonuses) and Anquan Boldin, who is due $6 million in non-guaranteed base salary in the final year of his contract.

Looming Contract Issues: From a positional value standpoint, the 49ers will likely look to address the contract of Kaepernick next offseason, which will be the first opportunity they will have to extend his contract beyond the 2014 season. The 49ers will also have to decide by May 3, 2014 to exercise the fifth-year option in Aldon Smith's rookie contract. Smith has 33.5 sacks during his first two seasons in the NFL and was a first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowler after posting 19.5 sacks in 2012. The fifth-year option in Smith's contract would be worth the value of the transition tag in 2014, which for a linebacker, is projected to be worth $8.377 million if the league-wide salary cap remains at $123 million next season.

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Aldon Smith (USA Today Sports Images)

From a recent headlines standpoint, cornerback Tarell Brown's contract could be revisited after the veteran voided a $2 million base salary escalator in his contract by skipping the offseason workout program.

Other players on the 49ers' contract "to-do" list are safety Donte Whitner, who has openly wondered if he'll be with the team beyond 2013, the final year of his current contract. Offensive tackles Joe Staley and Anthony Davis have signed extensions way before their rookie deals were up, which could have Mike Iupati wondering if his contract will be extended before 2014, the final year of his rookie contract.

Long-Term Cash/Cap Outlook: The 49ers have nearly 70 players signed for 2014 and the "Top 51" contracts have salary cap commitments totaling $117.5 million. Several players have base salary escalators in their deals, while other have "de-escalators" written into those deals, most notably Ahmad Brooks, whose salary decreased by $1.6 million this season, and Anthony Davis and NaVorro Bowman, who could lose six figures if they do not participate in the offseason workout program.

Previous salary cap outlooks

32. Oakland Raiders
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
30. Arizona Cardinals
29. Buffalo Bills
28. Cleveland Browns
27. Tennessee Titans
26. Kansas City Chiefs
25. New York Jets
24. San Diego Chargers
23. Philadelphia Eagles
22. Miami Dolphins
21. St. Louis Rams
20. Minnesota Vikings
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
18. Dallas Cowboys
17. Detroit Lions
16. Pittsburgh Steelers
15. Indianapolis Colts
14. New Orleans Saints
13. Chicago Bears
12. New York Giants
11. Carolina Panthers
10. Washington Redskins
9. Cincinnati Bengals
8. Atlanta Falcons
7. Houston Texans
6. Baltimore Ravens
5. New England Patriots
4. Green Bay Packers
3. Denver Broncos
2. Seattle Seahawks

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