Based on some 49ers fans’ reactions, you'd think that the sky is falling in the Bay Area, and the Niners are destined to finish in the bottom half of the NFC. Of course, that could turn out to be accurate, but it won’t be because the team didn’t shell out contracts to names you’re familiar with this offseason.
People often confuse activity for achievement in March. San Francisco has been aggressive in terms of acquiring players. But, like most teams, they’ve been burned and rewarded. I’ve seen the same people complain about paying Jerick McKinnon in free agency, upset that the team hasn’t been as active as they had hoped during free agency.
Again, it’s important to remember where the 49ers stand as a team and how their roster is constructed compared to the rest of the conference. Deebo Samuel, Trent Williams, George Kittle, Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa, and Fred Warner. Those are six of the best players at their respective positions on one roster. That’s without acknowledging promising youngsters or role players.
All that is to say, the 49ers don’t have to be big spenders during free agency as they don’t have as many holes to fill. Could they address their offensive line? Without a doubt. We’ve also seen the offense get by with Tom Compton and Daniel Brunskill starting for the majority of the season.
On today’s episode of The Shanaplan, Akash and I discussed why the Niners haven’t been as active during free agency and how they stack up to the rest of the NFC:
“They lost D.J. Jones and Laken Tomlinson, which hurts, but I think they have replacements in-house — younger guys who could potentially fill in. Which is a risk because you’re asking younger guys to step up and play in roles veteran guys have done a good job of. But that’s how team-building goes.
Charvarius Ward at cornerback really solidifies that spot. Special teams were a major disaster last year and they made three signings there. They’ve really spent a lot of their resources on special teams because they felt it cost them a couple of games last year.
A lot of people keep thinking of the Rams and Bucs as if they’re going all in and making these splash moves. When you look at what the Bucs did it’s just bringing back their own guys. They’re largely the same team.
Then you look at the Rams. They lost a lot of good players. Andrew Whitworth retired. Robert Woods was traded. Von Miller, who was a monster in that NFC Championship game, signed with the Bills. Darious Williams, starting cornerback who we really liked last offseason, isn’t on the team anymore. Sebastian Joseph-Day, who is like their D.J. Jones, is gone. They lost an edge rusher. Odell Beckham Jr. is hurt.
They lost a lot of guys that were a part of that Super Bowl run and all they’ve added is Allen Robinson. Is their team significantly better? When you look around the NFC landscape, Davante Adams is no longer there, Russell Wilson is no longer there. The 49ers may have not gotten significantly better. But they’ve hung around while some of these other teams have gotten significantly worse.”
We can assume that the spending in free agency is over for San Francisco.
The 49ers currently have $4.5 million in cap space, per Over the Cap. They’d have to restructure Jimmie Ward or Samson Ebukam’s deal — or do something with Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract, to sign another free agent. Then, they’ll need to at least double their current salary cap to sign their nine draft picks unless they plan on trading up.
We discussed more about how close the 49ers are to being the best team in the NFC below:
Other topics include:
Will Jimmy Garoppolo be on the roster once training camp starts? (1:55)
Could Jimmy end up starting again in 2022? (6:52)
Will the team re-work his contract, and would Jimmy accept a pay cut? (7:48)
If Jimmy was off the roster, would the 49ers have signed more free agents? (18:02)
Will Jimmy’s money being on the books impact the deals for Deebo and Bosa? (19:02)
Where do the 49ers rank in the NFC? (21:00)
Holes on the roster:
Slot corner (26:43)
Offensive line (29:05)