The NFL reportedly is set to add a 17th regular-season game, and the 49ers enter the final week of the regular season with 15 of their 2021 opponents already set.
The addition of a 17th game would boost NFL revenues and prevent an even-larger drop in the salary cap caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The cap still is likely to drop significantly in 2021 but the 17th game as part of negotiations for a new media contract could allow the cap to rise above the $175 million floor, according to a report from Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Media.
The 2020 NFL salary cap is $198.2 million. The league and players union negotiated a deal in August to prevent the cap from falling no lower than $175 million in 2021.
The 49ers enter the final week of the regular season with a 6-9 record and are locked into last place in the NFC West. Under the proposed 17-game format, three games for each team are determined by the place in the division standings from the previous season.
In addition to home and away games against NFC West opponents Arizona, Seattle and the Los Angeles Rams, the 49ers have the following opponents against the NFC North and AFC South:
Home: vs. Green Bay, Minnesota, Houston, Indianapolis.
Away: vs. Chicago, Detroit, Jacksonville, Tennessee.
The 49ers’ two other NFC opponents will be the last place teams of the NFC South and the NFC East.
The 49ers will play a home game against either Atlanta or Carolina, and a road game at Philadelphia or the New York Giants.
The NFL will also reportedly add a 17th game to the regular-season schedule.
The NFC West will match up against the AFC North with the spot in the standings determining the opponent, reports Albert Breer of the MMQB. The 49ers will play the last-place Cincinnati Bengals. It is unclear where that game will be played.