The franchise tags are out of the way and we're now a week away from the start of free agency. There were some players people were interested in that got tagged over the course of day, forcing folks to backtrack on their wish lists. Maiocco is rolling out pretty frequent updates from the Combine and had an interesting post last night. He threw out a few names at different positions and I was curious what people thought of some of the folks:
Offensive tackle: Marvel Smith (Pittsburgh), Khalif Barnes (Jacksonville) and Vernon Carey (Miami)
Wide receiver: T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Cincinnati), Devery Henderson (New Orleans) and Nate Washington (Pittsburgh)
Safety: Jermaine Phillips (Tampa Bay), Sean Jones (Cleveland) and Yeremiah Bell (Miami)
I'll leave the offensive tackle discussion in Danny's post from last night. We've had plenty of wide receiver discussion, so I thought this one could center on the safety position. One thing to keep in mind about the three folks Maiocco listed is that they're all traditionally strong safeties. Mark Roman is the guy who needs to be replaced, but does Maiocco's list infer the team might just go for depth all around?
Jermaine Phillips is considered to be the best option out there that's not franchised. He can play back in coverage but is strongest in run support closer to the line. Aside from his age (30 in March), another drawback is that he fractured his forearm and missed the final five games of the season.
Yeremiah Bell turns 31 in March and had a solid year for the Dolphins, again as a strong safety. Sean Jones is the youngest of the three (turns 27 the day before Bell's birthday), but missed some time with injuries and is also a
free strong safety.
I know they're just names being thrown out there, but would the 49ers realistically sign one of these guys? All three are more run support type guys, in a similar mold to Michael Lewis. Lewis turns 29 this year and is coming off yet another solid season. Depth is nice but it seems like Phillips/Bell/Jones would cost more than what a backup in SF would deserve.
This is not exactly a complicated issue, but I'm still curious what people think. The team added Jimmy Williams to compete with Dashon Goldson and others at safety. I just don't know if one of those three is the right type of player to fill the need.