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49ers free agency signings: Craig Dahl and Prudence

You can have two opinions: you either think Craig Dahl is the next Ronnie Lott, or he represents the unraveling of the 49ers and the new hegemony of the Seahawks. Pick your irrational side now and don't ever change your mind.


Yesterday, we signed S Craig Dahl, previously of the St. Louis Rams. For some reason, this site went into a sort of apoplectic rage at the signing.

That's an unfair characterization - I know. There were proponents on both the pro-Dahl and anti-Dahl sides. I was just a bit flabbergasted by how vehement some of the anti-Dahl folks were, and I thought that the topic needed a bit a context before we jumped into discussion today.

Context #1: Depth. I don't think Mr. Dahl will be a starter on this team, except for on Special Teams. This is probably a good thing. Based upon the scouting reports from Rams fans, Dahl isn't prime starting material. That said, he has a ton of starting experience. This is huge for a back-up / role player. If we ever need him to come off the bench, the whole secondary shouldn't collapse. The scheme will probably have to be adjusted a bit to make up for his deficiencies, but the defense would survive. This is particularly important in that Dahl provides depth at a position of intense need for this team. Moreover, depth here also means competition. We want / need camp bodies to provide competition. If we can get cheap vets who have proven that they can play in this league, that is so much better than a sixth round pick that will likely just be cut.

Context #2: The Baalke / Harbaugh effect. These guys know what they are doing. The cap problems aren't going to explode because of this signing. There's no way a Baalke front office, which has consistently been more than diligent when it comes to money, would let a role-player break the bank. I fully believe that Baalke has the wherewithal to spend frugally (in regards to the cap) on a guy who, at best, will compete for a starting spot. That 3 year, $5 million contract? I bet it coddles the cap like a newborn baby. Anyway, if we get two guys clearly better, then he gets cut in camp. No harm, no foul.