San Francisco 49ers

Space jam: Bowman alters contract to expand 49ers’ salary cap

Linebacker NaVorro Bowman restructured his contract this week, giving the 49ers more room to sign their NFL-leading 12-man draft class, a league source confirmed. Bowman converted $3.27 million of his base salary to a signing bonus that will be spread over the remaining five years of his contract, about $650,000 each year.

The team has signed seven members of its draft class. The five remaining are first-round pick S Jimmie Ward; third-round picks C Marcus Martin, LB Chris Borland and OL Brandon Thomas; and fourth-round pick WR Bruce Ellington.

The 49ers are now nearly $3 million under the salary cap. However, they will pick up an additional $6.6 million after June 1 as a result of releasing cornerback Carlos Rogers earlier this year. That additional space presumably will be used for quarterback Colin Kaepernick's new contract, which is currently being discussed.

The 49ers are expected to get more cap relief next season. Several of their highest-paid players – including Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree and Mike Iupati – are entering the final year of their contracts. It's also unknown whether defensive end Justin Smith, whose $6.9 million cap figure currently ranks third on the roster, will be back for another season next year.