General manager Trent Baalke has done an excellent job of locking up key talent during his tenure with the San Francisco 49ers, but the most difficult hurdle may yet be on the horizon.
As reported by Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, the post-June 1 release of cornerback Carlos Rogers is now officially reflected on the team's salary cap. While this new windfall leaves the 49ers with an estimated $8.165 million in cap room, there's no shortage of players lining up to reap the rewards.
Among the headliners approaching the end of their contracts with San Francisco, Baalke must now prioritize negotiations with several key contributors. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, wide receiver Michael Crabtree and guard Mike Iupati are all eligible for free agency after 2014, among others.
Of course, other long-term contract concerns also come into play when allocating money for future seasons.
The 49ers possess one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, but keeping talent together is arguably as difficult as building it up in the first place. With position and potential earnings in mind, these are the players Baalke should look to lock up first before hitting the open market.