For many years, the 49ers fanbase has had very little reason to get excited about free agency season. We’ve seen high-profiled players make headlines with other teams, and we’ve watched idly as our team brings in “value” players on less-than-desirable contracts. This year, however, it seems that the 49ers have found new life in free agency season, making numerous splashes, despite missing out on certain coveted acquisitions.
Despite the major news from the past two days, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have refrained from standing pat after the Kwon Alexander signing and Dee Ford trade. They remained active into the third day (well, first actual day), re-signing oft-injured fan favorite defensive back Jimmie Ward. His contract is reported to be a one year deal worth $5 million, which is expected to be heavily laden with incentives tied to playing time. This comes on the heels of missing out on All-World free safety Earl Thomas, who will replace Eric Weddle in Baltimore. I’d hesitate to call the Ward signing a consolation prize, but I am quite pleased to see that he’ll remain with the team.
The team bolstered their backfield by adding RB Tevin Coleman, who found great success as a complementary back in Atlanta. He had his finest seasons under Kyle Shanahan, and is poised to find some success in a 49ers rushing attack that has been able to make something out of very little over the past two seasons. It wouldn’t be surprising to see this move met with a lukewarm reaction, as Coleman hardly adds a new dimension to the squad. He hasn’t proven to be a reliable between-the-tackles runner, although he has found big-play success off the tackle and in the passing game. His skillset is largely redundant with what Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida excel at, but his addition contributes valuable depth to a position that has been noticeably unlucky in the injury department.
Finally, reports have surfaced that the 49ers have been active on numerous other fronts through the free agency period thus far. Although they missed out on signing Le’Veon Bell, it has been noted that they made a serious offer, only to be outbid by the Jets. It sounds like the Coleman signing was the backup plan, but it’s encouraging to see that the team has been proactive in looking to add talent. The 49ers have also been linked to cornerback Jason Verrett, a highly talented but regularly injured former Charger defender who many 49ers fans were high on during the lead-up to the 2014 draft. At 5’10” and 175-190 pounds (dependent upon the source), he doesn’t seem to fit the lengthy perimeter defender that Robert Saleh tends to covet, so it’s likely that if he were to be signed, he would challenge K’Waun Williams in the slot, or perhaps undergo a positional change into the defensive backfield.
Five Baalke picks remain with the 49ers | Branch, SF Chronicle
49ers reportedly made serious offer to Le’Veon Bell | Madson, Ninerswire
49ers should look into signing Eric Berry | Chan, NBC Sports Bay Area
49ers still need a punter | Branch, SF Chronicle
PFF Senior Analyst explains Kwon Alexander’s poor PFF grades | KNBR Staff
49ers notes | Biderman, Sac Bee