The NFL offseason is in full force with the conclusion of Super Bowl LIII and with that we have bold predictions for what will happen over the next few months. ESPN put together a bold prediction for each team in free agency and for the 49ers, they have Earl Thomas getting signed via free agency. Nick Wagoner, ESPN’s 49ers writer, broke down the prediction:
For the second year in a row, the Niners will add a former part of the “Legion of Boom” after grabbing Richard Sherman last year. Sherman already has said he’s willing to help recruit Thomas if needed, and while Thomas should have no shortage of suitors, the fit in San Francisco is as obvious for him as it was for Sherman in 2018. Thomas would instantly provide the stability the Niners clearly missed in the secondary last season while adding another valuable leader for a young defense.
It’s been clear Thomas and the Seahawks will be going their separate ways, with hints coming out before the 2018 season even began. After being unable to get an extension worked out, Thomas penned an article asking the Seahawks to trade him. This was amidst apparent mutual interest with the Dallas Cowboys. So apparent, the NFL recently wrapped up a tampering investigation between the Cowboys and Thomas. He reported for the season with the Seahawks, but there were tensions going during the season culminating in his season ending injury where he flipped the Seattle sideline the bird.
Dallas appears to be his first choice, but Thomas has also been linked to the San Francisco 49ers. Robert Saleh runs a similar defensive system to the one Thomas plays (or played) in with Seattle so the system transition would be rather seamless. The 49ers also couldn’t ask for a better salesman in Richard Sherman who can try and talk Thomas into coming to the team. Sherman has been open to Thomas coming to San Francisco as well.
From a needs standpoint, the 49ers need safety help—or at the very least, depth. The position was decimated by injuries more than any other (yes, even quarterback) with the 49ers playing backups up of the backups. Jaquiski Tartt is yet to start for all 16 games in an NFL season (2018 was his fourth year) and Adrian Colbert is somewhat of a question mark. Jimmie Ward, who was written as a nickel corner to start, could also could fill in, but his status for 2019 is unknown.
From a draft standpoint, the 49ers have other pressing needs in the first round. Well, one in an edge-rusher. Safety is a position to address, but bringing Thomas in could allow them to use a later round pick on a safety to develop while Thomas holds things down in the meantime. Thomas will be 30 when the 2019 season gets going so this may be his last long-term contract. Coming to San Francisco is going to be less about interest and who wants to pay that long-term contract. The 49ers have plenty of cash, but they also know that cash can go to nothing rather quick.
Do you see Thomas coming to San Francisco?