Which unrestricted 49ers free agent that’s still available do you think has the best chance to come back to the team this offseason? My guess would be Jaquiski Tartt.
Another option as a true slot receiver for the 49ers is Willie Snead. Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk will receive the lion’s share of the targets, but the veteran receiver offers another element that could expand what Kyle Shanahan could scheme on the offense.
In his seven NFL seasons, Snead has caught 275 passes for 3,393 yards and 16 touchdowns lined up predominantly in the slot. The seven-year veteran would also provide leadership and experience to the young receiver group that flourished when Emmanuel Sanders arrived in the middle of the 2019 season.
Snead’s last contract with the Ravens was a one-year, $6 million extension that ended a three-year stint in Baltimore. The seven-year veteran could be looking for his new home to be a contender, which could make him more willing to agree to a team-friendly contract.
There is no excuse as to why Juszczyk doesn’t receive the ball more than the two times per game he averaged last season. 36 touches doesn’t do him justice. It is why envisioning the 49ers re-signing Juszczyk seemed unlikely because they could not validate giving him adequate money for just 40 percent of the offensive snaps.
Shanahan is deliberately putting a ceiling on the potential of Jusczcyk. That is something Juszczyk himself hopes gets fixed with his buddy and newly promoted offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel.
Structuring contracts for players like Williams and Mack in a way that would allow the 49ers to continue making additions was going to be important. The Williams deal alone is so gargantuan that it could’ve derailed San Francisco’s entire free agency and left them without any room to fill out the rest of the roster.
While the Williams deal in particular gets more expensive as it ages, having small cap hits in 2021 was an important aspect of the contracts the 49ers were handing out. With the NFL’s salary cap dipping to $182.5 million, they were going to be up against it no matter how they went about the free agent period. Getting Williams and Mack for cheap this year let the 49ers bolster their offensive line while maintaining flexibility to revamp their defense and add depth to a roster they hope can be Super Bowl-ready by September.
Concerns are now raised for the defensive line, notably the defensive end position, with Bosa coming off a major ACL injury and uncertainty with respect to Ford’s health. Former first-round pick Solomon Thomas signed a one-year deal with the Raiders and concludes his run as the 49ers’ regrettable 2017 first-round pick. Armstead should hold down the big defensive end spot while Bosa takes edge but typically, the 49ers would like to have a deeper pool of pass rushers for defensive line coach Kris Kocurek. Due to injuries and cap space, the 49ers parted ways with Blair. However, they nabbed Samson Ebukam and his ideal athleticism from the division-rival Rams on a two-year deal. It was a big coup to retain last season’s starting nose tackle, D.J. Jones, who should start alongside Javon Kinlaw in the middle, on a one-year deal. Expect the 49ers to invest more in the defensive line this offseason.
In another “minor move”, the 49ers tried to save money off the albatross contracts of Dee Ford and Weston Richburg. The moves should save around $13 million, however Ford is not expected to pass his physical any time soon and Richburg has likely played his last snap.
Although it’s a difficult situation to recover from, the 49ers did their best. The two contracts still look terrible but the pain has been partially eased.
Overall Grade : C+