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The 49ers 2017 free agents and how they might impact 2018 compensatory picks

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The 49ers have quite a few unrestricted free agents likely to depart for other teams. We look at what it means for the team’s potential 2018 comp picks.

The San Francisco 49ers learned on Friday that they received a fourth round comp pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The comp pick comes courtesy of Alex Boone signing with the Minnesota Vikings.

The 49ers signed free agents Zane Beadles and Thaddeus Lewis, while losing free agents Reggie Bush and Anquan Boldin. Beadles did not factor in because he was released, as opposed to seeing his contract come to a close. Lewis did not qualify based on contract and playing factors. The 49ers did not make qualifying offers to either Bush or Boldin, so they did not count in the formula.

I bring this all up as the 49ers prepare for the start of 2017 free agency. The 49ers have actually already gotten started, signing cornerback K’Waun Williams to a one-year deal, wide receiver DeAndre Carter to a two-year deal, and defensive tackle Earl Mitchell to a four-year deal.

None of these three will impact the comp pick formula. Williams was released by Cleveland last fall, and has been a free agent since a Bears claim on him was cancelled due to a failed physical. Carter was released by the Patriots at the end of training camp last year. Mitchell was released by the Dolphins last week.

Free agency opens on March 9, and the following players will be unrestricted free agents, barring any contract extensions before then.

LB Nick Bellore
K Phil Dawson
DT Glenn Dorsey
RB Shaun Draughn
TE Jim Dray
QB Blaine Gabbert
OG Andrew Gardner
LB Gerald Hodges
DT Tony Jerod-Eddie
DT Chris Jones
WR Jeremy Kerley
QB Thad Lewis
WR Quinton Patton
QB Christian Ponder
WR Rod Streater
OG Andrew Tiller
LB Michael Wilhoite

In looking through that list, there are some mediocre players, but there are a few players who could draw decent interest around the league. The short list might include guys like Phil Dawson, Glenn Dorsey, Gerald Hodges, and Jeremy Kerley. Other than that, I would not expect significant opportunities for anybody else. The 49ers list Andrew Tiller as an unrestricted free agent, but I think he only has three accrued seasons, which would make him a restricted free agent. I’ll get clarification on that.

The next question will be which qualifying players the 49ers end up signing in free agency. I don’t anticipate a lot of big deals, but they certainly have plenty of room to make some additions. The comp pick formula is not entirely clear, but it comes down to comparing quality of players. In two weeks, we’ll start to have a better idea of how 2018 comp picks might shake out.