Several reports have come out that the 49ers are on the up and up as far as free agency destinations. Whether it’s wide receivers wanting to play with Jimmy Garoppolo to pad out stats, or the respect John Lynch has being a guy who has “been there”, the free agent market isn’t what it was two years ago where players could almost pay the team to ask them not to pursue them.
The 49ers are listed at number one on NFL.com’s free agency destinations. The one thing to keep in mind with this is that the list was made with teams that haven’t made the playoffs yet. The writer who put the list together, Adam Schein, was even inspired by the 49ers. Here’s the blurb on the 49ers, listed at number one:
John Lynch is right about everything. Jimmy G is a franchise quarterback -- he’s the pied piper, and thus, worth every single penny. At the end of November, San Francisco was 1-10, playing out the string and eyeing a top slot in the 2018 NFL Draft. Enter Garoppolo, and the 49ers ran off five straight wins to finish the season, averaging 28.8 points per game in the process. In a Week 16 showdown with Jacksonville, Jimmy G and Co. shredded the Jaguars’ vaunted defense for a 44-33 win. Suddenly, San Francisco became the most buzzworthy 6-10 team in memory. Garoppolo completely reinvigorated one of the league’s most storied franchises -- and he did it with a supporting cast that left much to be desired.
The 49ers have already given up a chunk of their salary cap to extend Jimmy Garoppolo, but they are still in in play to make some splashy signings in free agency. Despite the chunk, the 49ers still have the third-most cap space this upcoming season with around $76,874,832 in cap space. While the most attractive options may get slapped with the franchise tag, the culture change is dramatically different than a year ago. Especially when players are texting the quarterback to get the lowdown on the organization.