The offseason is here, and today is the first official day that teams can franchise tag players. Fans enjoy putting on their GM hats and envisioning their team making big free agency splashes. The question for 49ers fans is, what is your dream free agent signing?
The 49ers have 20-plus free agents on their roster, some will stay, while others will depart. The nature of the business comes down to dollars and cents when building a roster. Sometimes, a need for your team isn’t feasible due to the player and their demands.
Mike McGlinchey and Jimmie Ward may have played their final downs for the 49ers. McGlinchey is likely to command top-end money as the clear offensive tackle option in free agency, and Ward will certainly get his market value of seven million per year.
If both move on, the 49ers can turn to Colton McKivitz at RT, retain Tashaun Gipson with a marginal raise, and draft his potential replacement for 2024. McKivitz may struggle, but retaining Daniel Brunskill is a must, as he is a fallback plan.
Jake Brendel could also walk in free agency, opening the door for Nick Zakelj to replace him at center. Again, Brunskill is a fallback plan.
Many argue that paying McGlinchey for being the top option in free agency is due to the lack of options. I would argue, that’s why you don’t sign anyone for that position and invest in the defensive line to offset any loss in offensive production.
Trading DeForest Buckner and replacing him with Javon Kinlaw is an example of replacing a player for a player while missing out on the best player available.
With the quarterback position still in flux due to injuries, the defense will have to remain stout and, if possible, get stronger for the 49ers to continue to compete.
The dream scenario for the 49ers is to sign Daron Payne to occupy the defensive tackle spot next to Arik Armstead. Payne is 26 and had his best season in 2022. Huge salary aside, the investment will pay dividends for a win-now team that badly needs consistent play from the defensive tackle position.
Washington can always opt to franchise tag Payne. That’s why this is a “dream scenario.”
Who is your dream free agent signing?