The free agency signing period is wrapping up its first weekend, and the San Francisco 49ers have remained fairly silent. They extended Ian Williams and Phil Dawson, and signed Thad Lewis to a one-year deal. The bulk of the chatter has been about Colin Kaepernick trade rumors, followed by the occasional Ted Larsen or Russell Okung mention.
Tracy and Jennifer put together another video discussing where things stand at this point. I wanted to make sure and get this posted before it is potentially out-dated by a Colin Kaepernick trade, so make sure and give it a watch.
We have wondered what the 49ers are up to through the first week of free agency. The team has avoided the big names, and is unlikely to spend much money this offseason. They'll add some players, but with the big names off the market, it seems likely they could roll over upwards of $40 million or more in cap space into the 2017 salary cap. They need space for their draft picks, and would need space if Anthony Davis formally returns, but that still is likely to leave them with a whole lot of cap space barring a trade. And if they trade Colin Kaepernick for picks? That's another $8.5 million in space added on. That's a lot!
So can we actually figure out the 49ers plan this offseason? One possibility is something friend of the site Matt Miller brought up:
My take: 49ers are in a complete rebuild and will do so via draft. Comp picks are key to that plan (4 this year). @jerodbrown62— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) March 12, 2016
Comp picks are tradeable next year, and if the 49ers are not signing many qualifying free agents, they could be looking at at least one or two more comp picks for Alex Boone and maybe Anquan Boldin. And if they were not overly pleased with this year's free agent class, that would not really surprise me.
The downside of course is that it looks pretty bad to not spend any money and potentially roll over $40 million or $50 million in cap space to next season, when they could already have a lot of cap space with which to work.
What exactly is the strategy this team is engaging in this offseason? Is it part of a huge re-build that involves loading up on picks next year? Is it low-balling free agents and not being able to land talent upgrades? Is it just a matter of free agents not having interest in the team? Is it something else? I really don't know. I'm curious what people think beyond just the normal raging comments. I suppose it could just be general incompetency, but if not what else might it be?
I'm not going to yell and scream for money to be spent, but I am still a little confused with what Trent Baalke's strategy actually might be. Any suggestions?