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Could the 49ers lose their three biggest free agents?

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The Athletic seems to think so

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The NFL has stated that free agency will go on, and that means we’re just a few days away from the legal tampering period. Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic went through 100 pending unrestricted free agents to predict where they would land. Kapadia had the “big three” San Francisco 49ers all playing for a different team in 2020.

Arik Armstead was their No. 16 overall free agent and he landed with the Browns. Kapadia threw a wrench in the trade when he discussed Armstead for Odell Beckham Jr., which would set this place on fire. Emmanuel Sanders ended up with the New England Patriots. I do not want to see that. Sanders would kill it in New England. As for Jimmie Ward, he, too, followed Joe Woods to Cleveland. Losing all three players isn’t something any of us envisioned heading into free agency. Should we brace ourselves? It still seems a little far-fetched, but anything can happen.

The 49ers ended up signing former Browns safety Damarious Randall in this hypothetical situation. Randall is a versatile safety, but I’m not sure he gives you anything that Tarvarius Moore doesn’t:

86. Damarious Randall (S): 49ers

The 49ers’ roster is in good shape, but one hole they could be looking to fill is at safety if they lose Ward. Randall is a good tackler who will be attractive to teams that value versatility.

The 49ers roster was in good shape before The Athletic’s free agency. Losing all three of Armstead, Sanders, and Ward, without coming away with replacements will be a tough pill to swallow. If this happens, the pressure to nail the upcoming NFL Draft grows. I’d also imagine deals with DeForest Buckner and George Kittle get done. Still, if the best part about this free agency is the 49ers receiving 2021 comp picks, that’s a significant loss. You’re not replacing those three a year later with picks in the 100s.