Thearon W. Henderson
The San Francisco 49ers have seen four fairly notable free agents depart over the last week. The dollar figures show us why it is no surprise.
Over the weekend, Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News had some interesting contract numbers related to 49ers free agents:
The 49ers lost 4 players in FA who started a combined 32 games in 2012. To keep them would have cost SF $91.75 M with $42.85 M guaranteed.— Rick Gosselin (@RickGosselinDMN) March 17, 2013
Dashon Goldson: Five years, $41,250,000 ($22 million guaranteed - 2013 cap hit: $9 million)
Delanie Walker: Four years, $17,500,000 ($8.6 million guaranteed - 2013 cap hit: $2.9875 million)
Ricky Jean Francois: Four years, $22,000,000 ($8.5 million guaranteed - 2013 cap hit: unknown)
Isaac Sopoaga: Three years, $11 million (3.75 million guaranteed - 2013 cap hit: $3.75 million )
Of all the deals, the Delanie Walker contract is the only one I'm surprised the 49ers would not do more to match. Although he is averaging over $4 million a year, the early cap numbers are fairly reasonable. Walker reportedly will be looking at cap figures of just under $3 million in 2013 and just under $4 million in 2014. My guess is the 49ers just do not want to go that high in years two and beyond for their No. 2 tight end.
For the most part though, these deals make it easy to see why the 49ers were fairly open to letting all four players walk. All four got solid money on the open market, and the 49ers likely view the upcoming draft as a better option for filling the holes in their roster. As Paraag Marathe has said, the draft provides wholesale prices while free agency sets up retail prices.