The San Francisco 49ers head into the 2018 offseason riding as much momentum as a non-playoff team can at this point. They have won four straight, and appear to have found their quarterback of the future. They will have a high draft pick and could have upwards of $116 million in cap space. The team has a lot of holes left to fill, but things are pretty good right now.
And that’s why you can safely expect the team to be connected to virtually every free agent of note this offseason. The 49ers were aggressive in free agency this past offseason, and odds are pretty good that trend will continue this offseason. They will be connected to players they end up signing, but they will also be connected to players they may never even meet with in the spring. Agents know this is a team they can use for leverage. We’ll be tracking all the rumors, but in the end, it almost might be easier to talk about players they have NOT been connected to.
ESPN’s Field Yates recently put together a list of free agents he thinks will fly under the radar but end up with big pay days. The list includes some positions of note for the 49ers. The group includes defensive back LaMarcus Joyner, wide receiver Paul Richardson, offensive guard Andrew Norwell, cornerbacks E.J. Gaines and Patrick Robinson, and center Ryan Jensen.
Norwell and Jensen strike me as two guys the 49ers could target if they look to go the free agency route for the interior line. Joshua Garnett returns this offseason, but we don’t know how exactly he will take to the change in body composition, but even if he looks great, the 49ers need another guard and potentially a center, depending on the status of Daniel Kilgore.
March is going to be a fascinating month for the 49ers. The team will fill some holes in the roster, but how aggressive they are remains to be seen. Whether they give Jimmy Garoppolo a nine-figure extension, or play him on the franchise tag in 2018, they will have a crazy amount of cap space. It should make for an exciting free agency period.