The free agency frenzy has slowed considerably after the craziness of the past two weeks. The 49ers seemed to hit a home run with their most recent additions this week in Braylon Edwards, Johnathon Goodwin, Donte Whitner and Carlos Rogers. However, they still have money left to spend and a couple holes to fill.
At this point in the "off-season" you are looking at adding role players in certain positions on short term contracts and there are still a nice amount of those players available right now.
The latest news is that offensive line coach Mike Solari informed Barry Sims he will not be back with the 49ers in 2011 and Alex Boone will be the primary backup at the tackle position. This pretty much means the 49ers' offensive line is set right now. Tony Wragge, Alex Boone and either Adam Snyder or Chilo Rachal will be the primary backups.
San Francisco 49ers Free Agent acquisitions
FB- Jack Corcoran
WR- Braylon Edwards
C- Jonathan Goodwin
K- David Akers
LB- Antwan Applewhite
LB- Larry Grant
CB- Carlos Rogers
S- Donte Whitner
S- Madieu Williams
Undrafted Free Agents with best shot to make the 53
DT- Ian Williams
C- Chase Beeler
QB/RB- Jeremiah Masoli
TE- Konrad Reuland
LB- Kenny Rowe
DT- Sealver Siliga
So, lets take a look at possibilities for San Francisco at "need" positions
Jim Harbaugh did indicate last week that the 49ers "may" bring in a veteran quarterback, however, I am thinking it would be more of a 3rd stringer at this point. Colin Kaepernick has really impressed in camp thus far and may even challenge Alex Smith for the starting spot, so at the very least he will be the primary backup.
There are some options here for a 3rd string veteran. Todd Collins and Patrick Ramsey come to mind first. Troy Smith may also have to settle for a gig as a 3rd stringer because he isn't getting any play as a backup as of yet.
San Francisco did bring in former Tennessee Titans, Jack Corcoran on a three year contract, but there is no guarantee that he makes the team. Moran Norris has been taking reps of the starting full back, but I know how most of us feel about him right now. Additionally, Bruce Miller just got activated from the PUP list. So, it would seem San Francisco is looking at internal options for the full back position.
One issue that I have with the 49ers off-season is there unwillingness to bring in a solid starter caliber full back via free agency. There were so many options available at the start of free agency it seemed inevitable that they would bring one in.
Right now the list is still pretty solid. Jim Harbaugh likes the true blocking full back, so that would eliminate a couple players on this list. However, San Francisco should take a long look at Tony Richardson, Mike Karney, Heath Evans and Madison Hedgecock. Each are starter caliber players and extremely solid blockers.
Despite the signing of Braylon Edwards, San Francisco could still use some help here. Ted Ginn and Dominique Zeigler seem to be on the roster bubble right now and one will have to be released because of the Edwards signing. However, I don't think many of us would mine the 49ers getting rid of both players in order to upgrade at the position.
So, who is an actual upgrade at this point? Terrell Owens, Steve Smith, Jerricho Cotchery and Mark Clayton come to mind first. In Owens case, he will most likely miss the entire pre-season because of an earlier knee injury, so that is a less likely scenario. However, I could see the 49ers reuniting with him if the situation presented itself. More likely scenario is that San Francisco stands pat here or signs a player like Mark Clayton
The 49ers are incredibly thin up front right now. Each of their five defensive linemen can play different positions, but you should go into the season with more than two backups in the front three. There seems to be endless possibilities here. San Francisco could go with a pure net tackle in Pat Williams, but they seem intent on Isaac Sopoaga manning that position.
I am not sure if any of these players would be upgrades over what San Francisco currently has on their roster. The only upgrade that I see here would be Kelvin Haydon, who is often injured but a starter caliber corner when healthy. He would be an upgrade over Shawntae Spencer as the #2 corner behind Carlos Rogers. Other than that you are probably not looking at San Francisco getting involved in the watered down market for corners.
I don't expect San Francisco to dip further into the free agent market, but there does seem to be real possibilities out there if they decide to. They still have money left to spend under the salary cap and could use upgrades at certain positions. In a perfect world San Francisco would sign a defensive linemen and Kelvin Hayden then call it a day.