The NFL free agency tampering period gets going this week, and we'll start to see some dramatic changes to NFL rosters. Some teams will merely supplement, while others will make some major additions. It makes for an interesting period, with the first week being particularly crazy.
In the meantime, there is plenty of room for roster breakdown. ESPN's Bill Barnwell came up with an interesting angle that has not been pursued recently. He took a look at a potential 33rd NFL team, and using 2002 expansion draft rules, he figured out unprotected players for each team, and then set up a roster of starters for the team. The NFL would add two expansion teams, but the point is to just see what we can make of each roster and the state of NFL depth.
Each team was required to leave five players unprotected, and only one of those players could have more than 10 years in the league. Punters and kickers are not allowed to be protected, nor can impending free agents. Here are the five players he left unprotected on the 49ers current roster, and his thoughts.
LB Ahmad Brooks
WR DiAndre Campbell
T Erik Pears
DT Garrison Smith
QB Dylan Thompson
Four years ago, our expansion team would have been interested in the back of the 49ers roster more than perhaps any other roster in football. Those days have come and gone, sadly. With Colin Kaepernick left off of this list, the 49ers just don't have much to offer our team.
The 49ers had nobody selected in Barnwell's initial draft. It is not entirely surprising given what they have available. A couple years ago, this five-person group would have been a little more impressive. It still would have had some easy decisions given that this is the offseason roster, but it would have been better. Of course, it also tells us something when two of the five players are guys who logged heavy minutes in 2015.