The San Francisco 49ers, like most other NFL teams, are engaging in some creative accounting in order to create room under the $182.5 million salary cap, which dropped for the first time in recent memory. To create approximately $6.875 million in space, the 49ers restructured the contract of center Weston Richburg, according to a report from NFL.com.
Richburg, though, is likely to retire rather than continue playing in 2021 and beyond. Richburg missed the entire 2020 season with shoulder and knee injuries, and also recently had surgery on his hip. At the time of the operation, the 49ers indicated there was no timetable for his return.
The 29-year-old 2014 second-round pick spent the first four years of his career with the New York Giants, developing into a solid starter during his time there. In 2018, he signed a five-year, $47.5 million contract with San Francisco despite having played in only four games the prior year. He played and started 28 of 32 games in 2018 and 2019, but was on injured reserve for the 49ers' run to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.
He was replaced in the lineup by Ben Garland in 2019, and then by Daniel Brunskill in 2020. The 49ers have some work to do to shore up the offensive line in the wake of Richburg's likely departure, though their top priority along the line will presumably be re-signing star left tackle Trent Williams.