While I was scrolling through Twitter yesterday, I came across this nugget from the always insightful Warren Sharp.
so far, 11 of the top 15 spenders in free agency are from the AFC:— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) March 18, 2021
1. NE $245M
3. JAX $143M
4. TEN $112M
5. CIN $109M
6. NYJ $95M
9. LAC $84M
10. KC $80M
12. HOU $49M
13. BAL $45M
14. LV $44M
15. CLE $42M
top NFC spenders so far:
2. SF $156M
7. TB $88M
8. WAS $85M
11. DET $54M
As Warren has pointed out, the 49ers have spent more money in free agency than any other team. Also, per Warren Sharp, they’ve also spent the fourth-most guaranteed money of any other team. In Michelle Magdziuk’s Niners Nation Podcast debut, she and I tried to answer one simple question: Did the 49ers improve after spending all of that money?
As Michelle pointed out on the show, keeping Trent Williams and bringing in Alex Mack allows the offensive line to be better in 2021 than last year. Without question, that very well could have ripple effects on the rest of the offense.
However, other than that, are we sure the 49ers are getting the most bang for their buck when it comes to free agency? The conventional wisdom in the NFL is that you’re either getting better or you’re getting worse, so staying the same isn’t an option. If you had to choose between those two, it is fair to say that the 49ers aren’t better than they were last year.
If you’re counting on health to provide the improvement, that’s understandable. After all, it would be almost impossible for the 49ers to sustain as many serious injuries as they did in 2020. On the other hand, almost all of the players who got hurt for the 49ers last year have had struggles with injuries in their careers. They could just as easily get hurt again in 2021, even if the injuries might be of the minor variety.
All of this could be a moot point if the 49ers make a big quarterback acquisition or draft a bunch of good players next month, but as it stands right now, I can’t say for sure that I know San Francisco will be any better once the season gets underway.
Other topics in today’s show:
- One move from the other NFC West teams to worry about
- Why a Russell Wilson trade isn’t dead yet
- Why Coke is better than Pepsi