Free agency is going to be an incredibly advantageous period for the rich, rebuilding (and now appealing) 49ers. And with how aggressive general manager John Lynch has come off, the team projects to make a sizable dent when it comes to addressing its needs.
While we have an idea of who will be available to them, there has been a ton of extra chatter about notable players that could be added to the mix, either in a trade or released outright due to cap constraints.
Below we look at the latest news cycle, and if true, how it can potentially benefit the 49ers.
Safety Su’a Cravens has been reinstated, and “given all the drama” that’s occurred between he and Washington, a parting of the ways has been suggested. If he’s committed to football, Cravens could be an excellent addition as a potential replacement for Eric Reid and competition/depth with Jaquiski Tartt at box safety.
Reports during the season were the Colts were looking to move receiver T.Y. Hilton. If they are cap strapped, lacking assets in a time of rebuilding under a new regime, it’s possible they revisit this.
Josh Norman reportedly isn’t happy in Washington and the team can save $15 million, including $8M in cap space by parting with him. He is one of the best corners in the league and he fits the 49ers’ scheme, which calls for a lot of press and press bail technique.
The Rams are reportedly prepared to let Pro Bowl cornerback Trumaine Johnson hit the market after franchising him twice. Not only would it be great of the 49ers to pluck a star defender from a division rival, but Johnson fits the 49ers’ defense well and can continue to perform at a high level.
The Seahawks will reportedly “entertain trade offers” for All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman. He is a top-five corner in the league and he’s excelled in almost the exact defense that the 49ers run. Sherman, however, has created very bad blood with this organization and may be on a so-called black list. It's also doubtful that if Seattle trades him that it happens within the division.
There are numerous rumors that Chiefs star corner Marcus Peters could be moved before he gets his first extension. Kansas City has recently been aggressive adding corners, acquiring Kendall Fuller in the trade that sent Alex Smith to Washington, and recently signing David Amerson. If they do overhaul the defense as reported, and Peters is available, the 49ers would be wise to be a suitor. Though, this story seems flimsy at best.
Cornerback Kyle Fuller is expected to leave the Bears with a reported “lucrative market” waiting for him.
The Eagles reportedly might hold out for two first-round picks for Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles – a king’s ransom they might not get. How does that impact the 49ers? Well, it means Foles likely stays with Philadelphia and keeps one less quarterback off the market. This means one of the teams ahead of San Francisco in the draft may still be QB-less and have to select a signal-caller in the top-10.
One personnel executive told CBS Sports that “Derrick Henry doesn’t seem to fit what they’re going to be doing there now” in Tennessee. Could the thoroughbred running back become available via trade?
Tamba Hali is reportedly next on the chopping block in Kansas City. The 49ers have Elvis Dumervil, and the veteran was their most effective pass rusher in 2017. The team could explore adding an extra body in Hali to get deep on the edges for next season. After all, pass rush was an issue.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com sees an “either/or” scenario for Green Bay when it comes to Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. The idea is that the Packers, with a lot of work to do on their roster, can’t keep both of the veteran receivers. And they made their intentions clear when they committed to Davante Adams as their weapon of the future with a four-year, $58 million extension.
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall is expected to be released by the Giants. And while he’ll be 34 years old coming off an injury, he’s never been reliant on speed or route running. Marshall can still be dangerous with his size, perhaps offering the 49ers a situational weapon on third down and in red zone.
Rams edge Robert Quinn is being floated around as a potential cut candidate by the Rams, who are moving forward in Wade Phillips’ defense, and need to dish out several long-term contracts soon, including ones to the Offensive Player of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year. If released, Quinn could be an option at right defensive end, working on the open side of the formation.
The Jets have long been rumored to release former first-round pick Muhammad Wilkerson. The defensive tackle has been a headache for the organization, but from a physical standpoint, is supremely talented. If he is open to a one-year “prove it” deal, the 49ers could be suitors.
Dallas has the contracts of Dez Bryant (overpaid), DeMarcus Lawrence (not paid yet), David Irving (underpaid) and Zack Martin (not paid yet) on its minds. They’re tight against the cap, and with all this internal activity, look to see if something gets fumbled and an opportunity opens up for a team with cash and a need.
Pro Bowl guard Mike Iupati, once a beloved 49er, could reportedly hit the market if the transitioning Cardinals decide to blow it all up. Iupati plays a position where there aren't a ton of special players, and it's one of San Francisco biggest offseason needs.
The Bears scooped up Josh Sitton from the Packers, but it's possible Chicago doesn't have him in its long-term plans. If he's released again, it would put another quality guard on the market the 49ers could explore adding. And it would be a plus if they could settle the position prior to the NFL draft.
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