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John Lynch happy with free safety group

The San Francisco 49ers have been active in free agency, making deals and plugging holes with some great acquisitions. There’s one position that they didn’t address and that was free safety. Earl Thomas was available and many thought he’d be a shoe-in on the 49ers, but the 49ers didn’t get aggressive at all. Turns out they might be happy with who they have.

49ers general manager John Lynch was on Thursday’s 49ers Live and towards the end the crew opened things up to fan tweets. One of them was the 49ers lack of interest in the safety market. Lynch answered the question with this:

“We like our free safety group. First of all, it was big for us to bring back Jimmie Ward. And I know that’s a hot button item because he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. We aren’t blind to that, we understand that. There’s a lot to like about Jimmie Ward, though in what he brings. Are we taking a gamble? Yes, but that’s accounted for in our contract with him. Jimmie wanted to be here, we wanted to give him that opportunity to come back. We came to an agreement that worked for both sides. Aside from him, Adrian Colbert was a guy who—for whatever reason— didn’t carry over that rookie season, and then got hurt. But we felt like he was starting to play like the guy we saw his rookie season that we really thought was going to be our long-term answer at free safety. He’s very much in that conversation. I think people forget D.J. Reed, who was a drafted player in the fifth round last year, he’s got great versatility. And those guys, remember on game day we can only dress 53 players. A guy like D.J. Reed who can play the nickel spot, can play free safety, and also play outside corner and be a punt and kick returner, he provides a lot of different options. D.J. we see as a valuable option there as well as a lot of places. So we feel pretty good about our free safety depth.”

That sounds a bit like a laundry list of names at the position akin to Jim Harbaugh rattling off players. Lynch does have a point though. Reed could be serviceable in the position (he was a rookie last year) and Adrian Colbert was having growing pains, but we saw a potential ceiling his rookie season. Maybe the 49ers are fine with not overpaying for a safety in free agency. I’ve said they have a lot of salary cap space and that can go to zero quick if they aren’t careful.

That said, they also have a chance in the 2019 draft to address the position. That first pick can be used on their pass rusher, but the second rounder could be used on a safety in the hopes it will be the free safety of the future. They do need depth above all else givin how many backups they had to bring in to play in 2018.

The 49ers may be happy with the position right now, and it’s not atrocious, but they certainly aren’t done yet.

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