Deese feels blindsided by Niners' cut plan
February 27, 2003
By John Clayton

No defender has been able to get past 49ers left tackle Derrick Deese for the past 26 games to sack quarterback Jeff Garcia. Despite that near Pro Bowl record, Deese was blindsided by news that the team plans to sack him in June.

Deese said Wednesday he was told that the 49ers will pay him a $300,000 roster bonus Friday in order to keep him on the roster until June when they plan to release him. The 32-year-old was willing to restructure his contract for no net gain, but the team didn't ask as they did with right tackle Scott Gragg and center Jeremy Newberry.

"It shocked me when they told me,'' Deese said. "For what I've been for this team the last few years it shocks me that this is what they want to do for me. I always wanted to be a 49er.''

Deese is one of the franchise great success stories. He was undrafted, yet he has played and started virtually every position along the line since coming to the team 11 years ago. Though he preferred to stay as an interior blocker, Deese made the move to left tackle and prospered.

During the offseason, he worked with a private sprint coach who improved his footspeed. That enabled him to use an aggressive but difficult technique in which he makes an initial blocking attack at a defensive end.

Coming off his best season, Deese figured he would be part of an offensive line that was expected to stay together. Gragg and Newberry restructured their contracts to stay. Guard Ron Stone decided to provide cap relief by not doing a similar restructure, but he will be the with the team this fall.

Deese thought he was going to be offered a similar deal. His base salary is $2.3 million. He has the $300,000 roster bonus. He was willing to put $1.85 million in signing bonus and take a $755,000 base to save the 49ers cap room. He's done similar deals for the past several years.

"I thought they would restructure me, but they told me no,'' Deese said. "I had no idea this would happen. My wife just had a baby.''

The 49ers got under the $75 million salary cap by restructuring seven contracts -- Gragg, Newberry, quarterback Jeff Garcia, safety Tony Parrish, defensive end Andre Carter, safety Zack Bronson and fullback Fred Beasley. Those redone contracts saved the 49ers $8 million of cap space. They also released guard Dave Fiore and defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield.

That concluded their salary cap maneuverings, but it left Deese without a home in June. Because he has restructured his contracts the past few years, Deese has built up $2.546 million of signing bonus pro-ration. If the 49ers release him Thursday, they would save $710,000. But if they wait until June, they would save $2.3 million, pushing off a $1.91 million cap hit until next year.

The problem for Deese is that he will be a free agent when all the jobs are taken. That means he might have to play for the NFL minimum of $755,000.

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