The San Francisco 49ers open free agency next week with a limited number of notable players hitting the open market. The 49ers have a sixth round comp pick this year, but the comp pick formula is likely going to result in no picks for 2020.
The comp pick formula provides that a team that loses more players than it signs can be eligible to receive one or more additional picks in the following year’s draft. This year, the team had an even number of one more qualifying loss than gain, and Aaron Lynch’s departure resulted in a sixth round pick.
Jimmie Ward is the most notable player set to hit the market, but Bradley Pinion and maybe Mark Nzeocha could land smaller contracts that impact the comp pick formula. The formula does not cover players that are released, so Garry Gilliam would not count. However, if a player has a contract option and the team declines the option (thus making the player a free agent), the player counts toward the formula. This year, that would apply to Pierre Garçon and Earl Mitchell.
The 49ers will have eight free agents hitting the market, which is the lowest number in the league. That includes Garçon, Mitchell, Ward, Pinion, Nzeocha, Antone Exum, Alfred Morris, and Kyle Nelson. They re-signed Mike Person and franchised Robbie Gould.
Not all eight of those players will sign sufficiently qualifying offers, and it is likely the 49ers will be plenty busy signing players this offseason. I don’t expect them to sign every big name, but they should do enough to offset the comp pick formula. Extra draft picks are always welcome, but this is a year where I hope the team is sufficiently aggressive between starting and depth options.