We’ve been through each NFC division to find a potential fit during free agency for the San Francisco 49ers. Let’s head to the AFC today and start with the AFC West to see if there are any players the Niners should be interested in with free agency a week away.
DT Shelby Harris - Broncos
Harris was a name we discussed this last offseason as San Francisco reportedly had an interest in the Denver defensive tackle. Harris ended up signing a one-year deal with $3.25 million. While Harris only finished the season with 2.5 sacks, he had 16 quarterback hits and was disruptive for the Broncos all season.
Harris would serve as a D.J. Jones replacement and give the 49ers a much-needed interior pass rusher. Over The Cap’s valuation for Harris’s 2020 season is $5.3 million. San Francisco is unlikely to invest more than that into a defensive tackle a year after spending a first-round pick on Javon Kinlaw. As we saw with Jones, one-techniques and nose tackles can be found on Day 3 of the draft.
Harris remains the most enticing fit for the 49ers as his athleticism would make the Niners more versatile upfront. He’s also a good football player.
Edge rusher Melvin Ingram - Chargers
From 2015 through 2018, Melvin Ingram never missed a game. He missed three in 2019 and only appeared in seven games this past season after battling multiple knee injuries. Ingram is 32, and the last thing the 49ers need is a player coming off a knee injury.
San Francisco needs help along the defensive line, and Ingram’s year could benefit a team like the Niners. He could potentially bet on himself on a one-year prove-it deal and reap the benefits of playing opposite of Nick Bosa. Ingram’s athleticism would be a step up from the edge defenders the Niners had last year, even at his age.
In seven games, Ingram saved one less point than Arik Armstead did in 16 games during the 2020 season, per Sports Info Solutions. This signing would be one of those third days of free agency deals that go under the radar and looks like a steal come mid-season.
RG Gabe Jackson - Raiders
The Raiders released Gabe Jackson last week despite having two seasons remaining on a five-year, $56-million extension he signed back in 2017. The move saved Las Vegas $9.6 million against the cap.
On the field, Jackson started all 16 games for the Raiders this past season while only allowing one sack and four opponent stuffs in the running game. Jackson was a dominant player during the first few years of his career. He may not be the same level of the player he once was after suffering an MCL injury during the 2018 season, but Jackson looked the best he had since the injury during 2020.
Jackson was set to earn $11 million in 2021. He’ll turn 30 this offseason. Jackson likely won’t see $11 million, but he’s not going to sign for a bargain deal such as a one-year, $5 million deal. Signing Jackson would likely mean Daniel Brunskill starts at center. This is yet another option for the 49ers to consider.
CB Bashaud Breeland - Chiefs
Breeland would be the one player I’d pick on this list. He was excellent for the Chiefs this past season. Breeland allowed 6.5 yards per target with a completion percentage of 46%. He also broke up seven passes and had two interceptions. Breeland competes and can play both press and off coverage.
Breeland had the 20th-most points saved among all cornerbacks, despite only playing in 11 games this past season. That hints at how valuable Breeland was to Kansas City’s defense. Breeland just turned 29, and Over the Cap has his valuation at $4.8 million per season. If that figure is accurate, the Niners would be wise to sign a starting veteran cornerback for that cheap of a contract.