San Jose Mercury

Gragg net result: 49ers get their man
February 26, 2003

By Dennis Georgatos
Mercury News

The 49ers worked toward eliminating a nearly $7 million salary-cap overrun, completing a deal Tuesday for right tackle Scott Gragg that produced about $1.3 million in savings, league sources said.

Gragg is the fourth 49ers player to agree to a contract restructure in recent days. Center Jeremy Newberry, safety Zack Bronson and fullback Fred Beasley also have redone their contracts, shaving an additional $2 million from the team's player payroll this year.

All dropped their base salaries this season to league minimums and received the balance of their pay for this season in the form of signing bonuses, which are counted against the cap on a pro-rated basis over the life of the players' contracts.

NFL teams must be in compliance with the $74.8 million cap by Thursday. The free-agency signing period begins Friday.

Linebacker Derek Smith, running back Garrison Hearst, safety Tony Parrish and guard Ron Stone, among others, also could be called on to redo their contracts.

The 49ers could realize additional savings by releasing or restructuring the contracts of Dave Fiore, defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield and wide receiver J.J. Stokes, who have a combined cap figure of $10.4 million for next season.

The team wants to acquire enough financial maneuvering room to try to re-sign defensive end Chike Okeafor, the only 49ers starter heading for unrestricted free agency. The 49ers also plan by Thursday to extend qualifying offers to quarterback Tim Rattay and wide receiver Tai Streets, who are among the team's restricted free agents.

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