As is the case in this era of instant gratification, several prominent columnists have posted their winners and losers after six days of free agency and not so surprisingly, there are mixed opinions. As mentioned in the previous post, John Clayton had us at the top of his winners list, while Don Banks of SI.com disliked two of our prominent moves, the signings of Nate Clements and Ashley Lelie. As you can see fro my primitive, child-like pictures, I support braekneck's academically powerful theory that Don Banks is in fact, a douche.
Clayton's praise was primarily due to the fact that the defensive guys we brought in can actually help build a real 3-4 defense, as opposed to trying to plug in guys that don't fit the system. As for Lelie, he brought up the point that has been mentioned quite prominently here, and that's that Lelie brings an element of speed that is different than anything we currently possess. He's a vertical threat, as opposed to a possession receiver or guy who goes over the middle, which is something we drastically need.
Banks on the other hand did not seem to do his homework in regards to Lelie. YES, this could be the potential 3rd strike in Lelie's career if he doesn't pan out. However, Banks questions why anyone thinks Lelie can be the lead receiver in San Francisco after flaming out in Denver and Atlanta. Well, if he had half a clue about the 49ers receiver corps, he'd realize Vernon Davis is the guy who should become our best receiver. Everyone would prefer it to happen this year, but as long as he shows solid development, the leap can happen next year and I'd be satisfied. Furthermore, it's not like we signed the guy to a massive deal that could put us in a world of hurt down the road. It's a 2 year deal. If he blows up and leaves for a big contract afterwards in free agency, so be it. At least we got production out of him. If he's a total bust and is gone by next year, whatever. No big loss.
Banks also criticizes the Nate Clements signing by simply saying he's no Champ Bailey. Well no kidding, Captain Obvious. I'll be the first to admit that Champ Bailey is the best cornerback in football, bar none. However, Nate Clements was the best that was available at this time and he made it clear he wanted big money. If we had gone out and signed a mediocre cornerback for mediocre money, Banks would probably be criticizing John York for being the same old cheapskate owner. We're damned if we do and damned if we don't. And as I've said repeatedly, we're signing guys that are in the prime of their careers. In the case of Clements, if he does show signs of slipping five years from now, the contract will either be re-done or he'll be cut, plain and simple.
Outside of resigning our own guys, I don't see a whole lot happening with the 49ers before the draft. Even if Donte Stallworth comes at a relative bargain after rehab, I don't really see Nolan getting in on that action, considering his drive to bring in character guys. And I think it's safe to say there's no way Darrell Jackson gets dealt within the division.
While I like the Clements and Lewis deals, the two players I'll personally be following closest are Ashley Lelie and Aubrayo Franklin. For Lelie, it's because I love seeing my team sign a guy cheap and prove everyone wrong. For Franklin, I think he's a guy who could surprise some people and really solidify the middle of the defensive line.
Throwing out the Clements deal, since that's the biggest, which of the remaining signings will have the biggest impact on the team? Comment here and I'll post a poll on the main page.