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Grading the 49ers free agency: C Alex Mack could end up being the best value signing this offseason

We graded six contracts that San Francisco handed out during free agency

Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

We’ve had a few days to digest each of the moves the San Francisco 49ers have made during free agency. Before the weekend, the Niners had spent the second-most during free agency, but a big chunk of that is thanks to Trent Williams signing a massive deal that made him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history.

Let’s grade each of San Francisco’s free-agent moves to date.

LT Trent Williams - B+

There isn’t a plausible scenario for the 49ers that included the team getting better without re-signing Williams. He was the best available free agent on the market. The last thing you want is Jimmy Garoppolo having to worry about his blindside or the running game not having the luxury of running left whenever they want, as was the case during the 2020 season.

Giving Williams $40 million guaranteed was necessary. This grade is a B+ as I want to see if this deal hamstrings the team from adding quality talent in the coming years. As a player, it doesn’t get better than Williams.

FB Kyle Juszczyk - C+

Positional value has to play a factor here, no matter how the team feels about Juszczyk. Juszczyk’s cap number in 2021 is $2.275 million. He played 43% and 37% of the snaps on offense during the past two seasons.

I’ve seen Juszczyk referred to as an offensive weapon. That feels like a stretch considering his stats over the past two seasons. Juice has made a few impressive catches, but his value doesn’t sniff what a WR3, like Kendrick Bourne, would bring to the table.

Juszczyk is the best player at his position and comfortably so, but his value remains limited.

CB Jason Verrett - B

Verrett was one of the ten best cornerbacks in the NFL this past season and re-signed with the 49ers on a one-year deal where his guaranteed salary is $2.5 million. Verrett showed his worth this past season and rewarded San Francisco for sticking with him.

Verrett's injury history will always be in the back of the teams' mind, which is why the team earns a “B” grade. The hope is the further removed from the injury Verrett is, the healthier that he stays. In a worst-case scenario, your starters are now Emmanuel Moseley and...Dontae Johnson?

San Francisco shouldn’t wait long in the NFL draft to add a cornerback.

CB Emmanuel Moseley - A

It’s rare for an undrafted free agent to make it to a second contract. The 49ers deal for Moseley is for two years, though there is no guaranteed money after 2021. Moseley, who is expected to start, has a cap number of $2.6 million for this upcoming season. You’d be hard-pressed to find a starter cornerback at that price around the NFL.

Moseley burst onto the scene in 2019 and played like a late first-round pick during the Niners Super Bowl run. Last year, Moseley struggled against three of the better wide receivers in the league and battled injuries but played much better than given credit when you look at the big picture.

The 49ers are betting that some of those 50/50 passes go Moseley’s way this year, as he continues to improve entering his fourth season — though Moseley didn’t play in 2018.

If San Francisco is unhappy with Moseley’s production after this season, the team can release Moseley and save just under $4 million. If Moseley continues to ascend with more reps and a better pass rush, the 49ers will have a 26-year-old starter with a cap number of $6.7 million.

This was a fantastic deal for both sides.

Edge rusher Samson Ebukam - B-

There is a bit of projection here from the Niners as Ebukam hasn’t rushed the passer more than 251 times in a season since he joined the NFL in 2021. San Francisco is betting on Ebukam’s elite athleticism and the coaching of Kris Kocurek to get their new edge rusher up to speed.

When in doubt, bet on athletes. Ebukam’s cap number is $3.7 million for the 2021 season. If this project doesn’t work out, the team can cut Ebukam in 2022 and save nearly $5 million in cap space.

At worst, Ebukam is an upgrade on the edge thanks to his explosiveness while improving the 49ers' special teams units. At best, Ebukam’s pressure rate continues to get better, playing along a star-studded defensive line where he refines his technique and turns into a “sack artist.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the Niners use Ebukam more than any other signing.

C Alex Mack - A

Assigning a grade to Mack was the easiest part of this article. Think about where the Niners struggled in pass protection last season? They couldn’t pick up stunts and loopers to save their lives. That’s where Mack excels.

This past season was the first time Mack missed a game since 2015. Health and continuity have been a glaring issue for the 49ers, specifically along the offensive line. Mack solves three problems in one, and that’s before we get into how impressive a scheme fit he is. All this for $3 million in 2021.

It’ll be refreshing for Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy G, knowing they don’t have to worry about the center position this season. Mack could end up being the best value signing this offseason. He’s that good of a player.