With free agency kicking off in less than 24 hours (Thursday night 9pm pacific/Midnight eastern), rumors should reach a fevered pitch in the coming hours. So, with that in mind, I thought I'd open up a thread to keep things relatively straight. While free agency begins at 9pm, I'm kind of curious how long it takes for the 49ers to make things happen, particularly in light of the tampering issues. I was looking back at the Niners Nation archives and last season the first signings (Lewis/Clements) happened approximately 16 hours into free agency. Maybe they get guys signed but take a few days to get the paperwork done? Who knows. I say just get things done, tampering worries be damned.
First off, the rumors I've heard among many:
Justin Smith - This has probably been the most talked about option in free agency for the 49ers lately. Of course, many of us thoughts Adalius Thomas was coming to town and it didn't quite work out that way. While Justin Smith will cost a hefty chunk of change, I would really like to see him in the 3-4 next season.
Calvin Pace - I first noticed Pace's name in a Maiocco column. Pace plays the weakside linebacker position and I just happened upon an interesting comment. Rotoworld is claiming the Patriots are interested and would move him inside as they did with Adalius Thomas. One interesting post at the scout.com 49ers page pointed to a potential hybrid defense if Calvin Pace and Justin Smith were both signed. A 3-3 with Justin Smith playing the elephant role. Thoughts?
Bernard Berrian - His name has been bandied about as a potential receiving option, but the money seems to be a bit steep. It sounds like Berrian wants $24.5 million over the first three years and the Bears offered 5 years, $25 million. Berrian apparently wants to pass Deion Branch's deal of 6 years, $39 million. I'd personally rather go with some smaller names and spread the money around as I've never been a big Bernard Berrian fan. Of course, rumor has it Berrian really wants to play in San Francisco.
DeShaun Foster - Technically DeShaun Foster is already eligible to be signed but a deal isn't done yet. I'm curious what the potential hold up is. In spite of the injury issues and whatnot, I think he'd make a great backup for Gore. At the same time I'd love to see what Thomas Clayton can do. If Foster is signed, the competition basically comes down to Thomas Clayton vs. Michael Robinson for the #3 running back and I'd imagine Robinson has the edge for now.
Lance Briggs - Briggs has been on the radar of most 49ers fans every since word spread that the 49ers had made a play for him at the trade deadline. Then the tampering issues came up recently and everything seems up in the air. Matt Maiocco is NOT sold on Briggs coming to the Bay Area. Stories have the 49ers potentially not interested and that this is more of a Drew Rosenhaus thing running up the price. Maybe it's part of the deal for getting Frank Gore signed long term; use the 49ers to leverage his other clients. If the 49ers can bring in Smith and Pace I certainly have no problem ignoring Lance Briggs.
Shaun McDonald - Not the sexiest name out there, but McDonald could be a nice little pickup if he can build on last year's 79 receptions, 943 yards and 6 touchdowns. As Sven pointed out, rumors have McDonald potentially being traded to San Francisco. We'll see if this comes to fruition.
So I'd say we open this up to two questions. What do you think the 49ers will do? versus What do you HOPE the 49ers will do?
For me, I still would like to see the 49ers make a run at one of the quality offensive lineman out there, but it sounds unlikely and rather just be addressed in the draft. MM is reporting league rumors have Alan Faneca signing with the Jets. That leaves a guy like Flozell "The Hotel" Adams who appears likely to resign with the Cowboys.
As I read and hear more rumors I'll post them here. Go ahead and use this to include rumors you hear and your wishes for the 49ers free agency.
EDITOR'S UPDATE 2:15PM - Isaac Bruce: Just came across this at Rotoworld:
The Rams asked Bruce to take a pay cut and he refused. The Rams have put themselves in awful cap condition with poor free agent signings the past few seasons, and now have to cut their most tenured player. Bruce has plenty left in the tank, and will instantly be on San Francisco's radar. If the Rams are smart, they'll make him another contract offer.