On Thursday Trent Baalke sat down with Tim Kawakami and discussed a variety of topics from free agency to Camp Alex to the Michael Crabtree-Alex Smith chatter. During the conversation, Kawakami asked Baalke whether the 49ers were "set up to go get a big-money free agent." In response, Baalke said:
We're not going to be major players. From a philosophical standpoint, we're not going to be major players in free agency. Does that mean we will never go out and pursue a high-end free agent? No. But philosophically, we're going to build this team through the draft. And when the right time arises and the right player's available, that we feel sets us up for a different level of play, we'll be in a position hopefully to make that move.
Folks have jumped on that as a sign the 49ers will not go after one of the big names in free agency. I said yesterday that could mean no Nnamdi and no significant free agent additions. However, in re-reading Baalke's comments, it actually doesn't sound like he forecloses a big name this year. He said the team won't be major players, but that could also be indicative of a team planning on making at least one addition if the situation is right. I read it as philosophically they prefer to build through the draft but they aren't going to foreclose the right opportunity.
That's not a shocking bit of information, but it's something worth considering. For example, maybe the team is unable to figure out a new deal with Nate Clements. If that's the case, they'd find themselves in need of veteran cornerback help. However, if the team is able to work out a deal with Clements, will they stick with what they've got or will they make a move for a a veteran free agent? Maiocco threw out the name Richard Marshall. Thoughts?