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NFL Free Agency 2011: Trent Baalke Believes In Patience

Earlier today after practice, GM Trent Baalke spoke to the media and discussed his belief in taking a patient approach to free agency. And he also used the phrase "We do have a plan." He wouldn't provide any details on specific players and it seems safe to say that we won't get a lot of specifics out of Baalke as long as he is in charge:

-BAALKE: .... It's tough for the fans to look at it and they hear us saying we're going to take a patient approach when we've had as many seasons as we've had and not made the playoffs. That's totally understandable.

But we are going to be patient. We have been patient. We do have a plan. We're executing the plan. And I guess the only thing that's going to tell is the test of time, and how successful this plan is will be measured with how successful we become on the field.

Folks want answers yesterday but it would seem Baalke is content biding his time wait for the right guys. For most fans, the question at this point is who those guys are going to be. The 49ers still have roster spots to fill, so there will be more bodies coming in. Players can't practice until the CBA is officially ratified, with August 4 being the targeted date for that. While free agents won't practice until then, it would certainly be nice to have your guys in sooner than that since they can still participate in the classroom work.

One name that will be interesting to follow over the next 24-48 hours is center Olin Kreutz. The tweet's been posted but we'll move it up here in case anybody missed: The Chicago Bears are likely out of the Olin Kreutz negotiation after issuing an ultimatum on a 1-yr, $4M contract. The 49ers are the only other team mentioned in connection with Kreutz, although that doesn't preclude a mystery team or two from popping into this equation.

As impatient as some of us have become over the lack of movement, players discussed over the last few days do still remain on the market. Conceivably the team could still land Kreutz, Antonio Cromartie or Carlos Rogers, and Plaxico Burress or Malcolm Floyd, just to name a few.

That's not to say these particular transactions will definitely happen. And it's not to say these are the best options for the 49ers. Rather, as the 49ers bide their time, prominent names remain on the market. Other teams are not willing to give these guys overwhelming contracts so the 49ers are able to take their time on this. And after all, if they don't like some of the names out there, why spend the money on them? They seem to have liked Nnamdi, but ended up losing out to the Eagles.

It's entirely possible they are simply not enthused enough by the current market to spend a bunch of money just for spending's sake. This is a very unique market because of the lockout and there is something to be said for a cautious approach.