]It feels like the signings in the NFL have been slower this year than any other, and that is likely due to teams not being able to bring in players and give them a physical. The San Francisco 49ers have signed one free agent outside of the building so far, and he seems destined to be a backup. Let’s take a look at the best available remaining free agents to see if there will be another Tom Compton type signing, or if there is anyone else the 49ers could be interested in.
Every mock draft now has the Niners taking a wide receiver. Here is a look at the best available wideouts, from familiar names like Emmanuel Sanders and Robby Anderson to some lesser-known names like Rashard Higgins.
While Sanders weighs his decision between Dallas and San Francisco, the market hasn’t been as kind to this free agent group as they had hoped. That may bode well for the 49ers if they are looking to bring a veteran in. We haven’t talked about Allison or Robinson. Both of those are bigger wideouts that can play both inside and out and can run. Those two and Perriman are intriguing. Dorsett—who has been linked to the 49ers— seems like the likeliest to replace Marquise Goodwin when he is inevitably traded.
The 49ers making a run at Austin Hooper means they’re serious about upgrading at tight end. We don’t know how close the two sides were, but here are a handful of names that would be an upgrade over Ross Dwelley:
By all accounts, this is a weaker draft class at tight end. That doesn’t mean you can’t find someone that can contribute later on. I was stunned when Jimmy Graham signed with the Bears. Ebron is likely too expensive, while Clay is an upgrade, but a minimal upgrade at this stage. The other three are superior in talent but have had two season-ending injuries in the past few years.
This is a position I can see the 49ers addressing after the first week of free agency has passed, or even after the draft when a veteran is sitting out there. Here is a look at the top defensive tackles out there:
Hunt had two good seasons, with the Colts in 2017 and 2018, but he’s had five years that make you scratch your head. He’s a big, strong athlete that is very good against the run. Hunt could also play “big end” for Arik Armstead if needed.
You sign Harrison or Mebane if you want to make sure D.J. Jones doesn’t wear down as the season goes on. That’s why I’ve been pushing for the team to bring in someone else. Keep Jones fresh so the 49ers defense can have him when it matters, in December. I’m not sure if the Niners can pull it off, but Harris would be the best-case scenario of available options to replace DeForest Buckner.
We haven’t talked about the 49ers using No. 13 on one of the top cornerbacks in the draft. I wonder if we’re looking past that option. There are some notable names still available that could help the defense right away:
At this point, I’d be out on Rhodes. He hasn’t looked good in two seasons, and I’m not sure how that gets better, even with the 49ers defensive line. Ryan doesn’t strike me as a good fit in this defense. Smith is an upgrade, Breeland is interesting, and Darby needs to stay healthy. Realistically, it’s Moseley or the draft.