07 Mar Top 5 Free Agents The 49ers Should Target
The San Francisco 49ers had an injury-full 2020 season, showing problems in depth which led to a 6-11 record. Free agency starts in 11 days and 49er fans are intrigued on what the 49ers will do. The 49ers currently hold $23M in cap space, after some of their players did not hit incentives in their contracts which freed up around 11 million dollars in cap. With several 49ers becoming free agents, or being rumored to get released, the 49ers are estimated to have enough cap space to re-sign key players like Trent Williams, Jason Verret and more. This would also give enough room to wiggle and sign some free agents. In this article I will be talking about various players who will become available in the market and the 49ers should eye as they could fill in depth or even be immediate starters in the 49ers squad.
One of the 49ers biggest issues in the 2020 season was offensive line, especially the center position after Weston Richburg, Ben Garland and Hroniss Grasu were all injured for most of the season. Rumors have surrounded the 49ers on releasing Richburg, as he continues to struggle to remain healthy, making the center spot a big hole to address. Alex Mack has been a great player in the Atlanta Falcons´ o-line and as well as on the Cleveland Browns. The 35 year old has already spent time with Shanahan so he is familiar with the system, and because of his age, signing him would be pretty cheap. With him being a 1-2 year player at center, the 49ers might draft another center in the 2021 NFL Draft to develop under Mack. There have been many reports linking Alex to the 49ers, and if it becomes a reality, the 49ers might fix some of their problems in their o-line.
Desmond King II
The 49ers have a big problem in the cornerback position as every corner will hit the market this offseason. The only cornerbacks that are confirmed to be in the 49ers roster in the 2021 season are Ken Webster, and Mark Fields, who are not considered as starters. Star nickel corner K’Waun Williams has been a doubt for 49er fans due to the fact that he might ask for a big contract as he has shown to be one of the best nickel cornerbacks in the league. The 49ers might be forced to let him walk, and if that is the case Desmond King II could be the player to fill in that gap. Desmond King, in his first three years with the Los Angeles Chargers, played in the nickel spot, then in his fourth season after being traded to the Tennessee Titans, he was lined up outside causing him to struggle & making his value drop significantly. The 49ers could bring him in to be a long-term replacement for Williams, as he is only 26 and could be an affordable pick up for the team.
Jimmy Garoppolo has been a big question this off-season, as he only played 6 games, showing he cannot stay on the field. Garoppolo will probably come back to the 49ers team as the starter, but his injuries are starting to concern Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. The 49ers might bring in a veteran to compete for the back-up quarterback spot with Josh Rosen. In the case Jimmy gets injured again, Josh Rosen or another veteran could step in to keep the season alive. Personally, I like Andy Dalton, as he could be a solid back-up in the 49ers who played almost all games last season due to Dak Prescott’s big injury. Dalton had a decent season with 2,170 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and 8 interceptions in the span of 14 games. If the Red Rifle can avoid throwing interceptions and keep on his decent form, he can be a good back-up caliber quarterback for a very cheap deal.
Rashard Higgins had a decent season with the Browns, carting up 599 receiving yards and 4 receiving touchdowns. He was a solid piece in the Cleveland Browns´ playoff run where he almost made an important touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs that would have rocketed the Browns into the AFC Conference Championship against the Buffalo Bills. He sadly fumbled the ball near the goal-line causing his big play to result in a touchback, giving the ball back to the Chiefs. The 49ers wide receiver depth was a big concern for the team in the 2020 season, especially with many injuries including Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and Jalen Hurd. With the 49ers looking to improve the depth with the NFL draft or free agency, they could get Higgins for a cheap price and add a great depth receiver.
Aldon Smith showed to be a great pass-rusher in his first seasons with the 49ers, getting 19 sacks during his second season in the NFL. Sadly, he got suspended in 2015 making him miss the next four seasons. Aldon Smith then joined the Dallas Cowboys, managing to get 5 sacks and 48 total tackles. The 31 year-old will probably hit free agency as he did not surprise anyone. The 49ers struggled to recreate their dominant defensive line in their 2019 Super Bowl run, with Nick Bosa, Dee Ford and Solomon Thomas getting injured for the whole season, showing to be lackluster and disappointing. Aldon Smith knows the system, and his best years were with the 49ers making him a viable option for the 49ers to fill in depth and maybe even he could become a starter.