San Francisco 49ers defender Dee Ford got a new contract on Sunday, and Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk reported that the restructuring is going to give the organization quite a bit more flexibility under the NFL's salary cap.
The new deal doesn't get Ford on the roster for any longer officially, but the way it's been reworked could increase his chances of returning in 2021.
The writer noted the new agreement means that more of Ford's money is going to be converted into a signing bonus. Before this new signing, there was no guaranteed money on the books for Ford next season.
The deal restructured more than $9.5 million and now gives the Niners a reported $19.5 million under the cap. According to the writer, it's not yet known if this is in anticipation of a new free agent coming into town or whether the organization just wanted the flexibility just in case.
He added that as a general rule, something like this with Ford would have been done earlier in the offseason. It would have been carried out in order to make a bigger dive into the available player pool. It's not normally something that gets completed this close to season kickoff.
The analyst also wrote it's possible Ford's new agreement could be just to make sure the 49ers can sign a couple of other existing players to new contracts. Trent Williams, cornerback Richard Sherman, receiver Kendrick Bourne and fullback Kyle Juszczyk are all candidates.
General manager John Lynch told the media on Sunday he saw Ford's new signing as more of a mechanical movement than something that portended more coming down the pike.
"I think that move was more of a house-keeping, cap-mechanic type of a move. There's going to be some things coming down the line that balance it out that don't include going to get a big-time player. Our roster's pretty much set."He added that at least some of the money that was freed up is earmarked for players who reach performance incentives. Some cash will be used to make sure they are keeping their practice squad players paid.
While Ford got himself a reworked deal this weekend, Williams pointed out the 49ers haven't done the same with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. He also doesn't have any guaranteed funds in 2021. The analyst believes that could mean the team is at least thinking about moving on and getting another signal-caller for next season.