Even with Jimmy Garoppolo’s front-loaded contract on the books, the 49ers will head into free agency with more salary-cap space than all but two teams, general manager John Lynch said Thursday.
“We’re going to be aggressively prudent,” Lynch said at the news conference that celebrated Garoppolo’s five-year deal. “… This takes up some of that room, but that was a trade-off we were happy to make and we still have a lot left. And we’re excited about that.”
Though Garoppolo’s deal averages $27.5 million a season, the contract takes advantage of the team’s abundant salary-cap space at the moment. Garoppolo will count about $37 million against the cap in 2018. According to chief strategy officer Paraag Marathe, the team currently has about $62 or $63 million in cap space.
Marathe said the team wanted Garoppolo’s deal done ahead of the free agency period, which begins March 14. Not only does the deal get the biggest salary-cap question out of the way and accounted for, it gives the franchise stability that ought to make it more attractive to would-be free agents.
“We wanted to make sure we had good signaling, that we had Jimmy done going into free agency,” Marathe said. “Absolutely, we wanted to build momentum.”
Earlier in the week, the team signed defensive end Cassius Marsh to a two-year deal and both Marathe and Lynch said there were other current 49ers headed for free agency that they’d like to sign as well.
“We’re going to continue to re-sign our own players that we think are a part of this puzzle,” Lynch said. “Some of those, we have to let go to free agency and see where the market shakes out. We’re getting ready for the draft, we’re getting ready for free agency. This thing always is moving.”