We have hit heavy on the big-name free agents like Jimmie Ward, Arik Armstead, and Emmanuel Sanders. Believe it or not, the 49ers have several other unrestricted free agents that they’ll need to figure out if they bring back or let walk. Let’s go through each player and decide if they’re valuable enough to bring back or not.
- DT Earl Mitchell- He was brought back once the team was depleted and needed a familiar veteran big body against the run. The team needs a veteran presence, but one that offers more than Mitchell.
- TE Levine Toilolo- The former Atlanta Falcon, was known as a run blocker and possible goal-line threat but finished the season with two receptions and wasn’t effective as a blocker.
- OT Shon Coleman- If you forgot he was on the roster, you’re not alone. It’s a shame we never had the chance to see Coleman play as a starter, but the emergence of Daniel Brunskill and having Justin Skule on the roster makes Coleman expendable.
- CB Jason Verrett- As talented as he was once upon a time, you’re betting against history in thinking Verrett can hold up during the grind that’s the NFL schedule.
- WR Jordan Matthews- The 49ers have a gazillion young receivers they need to develop.
- CB Dontae Johnson- Fill in the blank
- DT Sheldon Day- It’s not that Day played poorly, but the 49ers can upgrade inside. The drop off from D.J. Jones to Day was significant. While he’s a big body that’s “fine” against the run, the 49ers would be wise to invest in a player that’s similar in age with more upside.
- Edge Anthony Zettel- The depth at edge will be fine, assuming everyone doesn’t get injured again.
Players that aren’t going anywhere
San Francisco has nine restricted or ERFA’s on the roster that is only in danger of leaving if another team offers them a contract.
- LB Elijah Lee
- RB Jeff Wilson
- WR Kendrick Bourne
- RB Matt Breida
- QB Nick Mullens
- TE Ross Dwelley
- CB Emmanuel Moseley
- RB Andrew Lauderdale
- OL Daniel Brunskill
The majority of these players are key contributors. Moseley and Brunskill have a strong chance to start next season.
Bring them back
In this exercise, we let eight free agents test the market, and will re-sign three backups that provide much-needed depth at critical positions.
- C Ben Garland- Weston Richburg is one of the best players at his position. That doesn’t mean the 49ers shouldn’t invest his backup. Once Garland got comfortable, he was a good player. He saved his best games for the playoffs. Familiarity should make this an easy decision for both sides.
- Edge Damontre Moore/Ronald Blair- The 49ers were at their best when Moore and Blair were healthy. They are ideal backups because both can still get after the quarterback and take advantage of their 1-on-1 opportunities. The same cannot be said for Zettel and Kentavius Street, or Solomon Thomas. Heading into the season with Nick Bosa, Armstead, Dee Ford, and these two as your edge rushers would be as strong as a unit as it gets in the NFL.