In the Delanie Walker signing post, MM threw out the players who will be free agents after 2009. Obviously a million things will change between now and then and there is little to no way we can predict what will happen at that point. However, it's much more fun randomly speculating about things over which we have absolutely no control. Some are restricted free agents, although I'm not 100% sure about the restricted/unrestricted status of some of them. The entire list is at the bottom, but I thought I'd hit some of the more interesting ones. The 49ers have done a good job lately in signing the young talent to longer deals. On this list, aside from Bryant Johnson, I'm not sure if any of them warrant long term deals for now.
Billy Bajema: Bajema is a blocking tight end who is not exactly what you'd call a pass catcher. Delanie Walker has been impressing Mike Martz, but Bajema brings the blocking element Walker lacks. I don't see Bajema returning when you can probably find a replacement in the draft.
Damane Duckett: While he seems to be a "coach's project," Duckett is an interesting case. It's entirely possible the signing of Barry Sims means Duckett doesn't make the roster this year. Even if he does it will be as a backup and barring injury, I don't know how much of an opportunity he'll get to play behind Joe Staley. Of course I also don't know who else would be interested in a converted defensive lineman who hasn't gotten all that much playing time.
DeShaun Foster: I could definitely see this as a one and done year for Foster. If he can put together a solid year behind a really good running back like Gore, he would definitely get some quality offers. He just needs to show he can stay healthy and be relatively productive. A solid yards per carry could help him cash in.
Bryant Johnson: According to MM, "There is no question Johnson is hungry to prove he's an elite wideout. Johnson said he wants to put together a good season and sign a long-term extension with the 49ers." If Johnson does take a step up and prove himself to be a quality receiver, we'll see how quick he is to sign an extension when teams are throwing piles of money at him.
Eric Heitmann: I'd imagine the 49ers will let him walk. They have some options for the future, which makes Heitmann potentially expendable. Tony Wragge is a restricted free agent and unless somebody was willing to give up picks and a big contract for him, I'd imagine the 49ers could retain him pretty easily. Cody Wallace would seem to be the center of the future, so it's a matter of working him in to the position. Or maybe Heitmann signs a short deal to groom Wallace? No matter what he won't be getting a ton of money from the 49ers.
Ronald Fields: If the 49ers stick with the 3-4, Fields has his work cut out for him if he plans on sticking around. He's a defensive tackle who either needs to improve his game in the middle, or gain some ability and become a defensive end. He hasn't done a whole lot up to this point and the 49ers have brought in some additional young bodies so we'll see how this year plays out.
Ashley Lelie: After spending most of last season in just about everybody's doghouse, Lelie thinks he's learned enough to be able to make some solid contributions in 2008. The 49ers and Mike Martz will need every wide receiver to step up and make things happen. However, unless Lelie blows people away, the 49ers have enough young potential to take their chances with another cheap veteran in free agency who might have a little more upside.
Signed through 2008: TE Billy Bajema, T Damane Duckett, DL Atiyyah Ellison, DL Ronald Fields, RB DeShaun Foster, OLB Roderick Green, C Eric Heitmann, WR Bryant Johnson, FB Zak Keasey, WR Ashley Lelie, QB J.T. O'Sullivan, RS Allen Rossum, CB Donald Strickland, G Tony Wragge.