The 49ers were active during the first few days of free agency, and we’ll assess each of those signings later today. According to Over the Cap, San Francisco is sitting at $7.9 million in cap space, but that figure doesn’t include Myles Hartsfield’s contract.
When his inevitable extension happens, Nick Bosa’s new deal will save a bit of money against the 2023 salary cap. The team has already restructured a couple of their star players recent extensions to create space. But are they done in free agency?
Between Hartsfield and Isaiah Oliver, the Niners brought in a few veterans to compete in the secondary. But could they sign a veteran on the outside, such as Rock Ya-Sin or Marcus Peters? They’d have to get creative with the salary cap if so.
Unless Isaiah Wynn or Jermaine Eluemunor fancy the 49ers, Mike McGlinchey’s replacement is coming via the draft. An edge rusher could still be viewed as a need opposite of Nick Bosa. The drop-off from last year’s duo of Samson Ebukam and Charles Omenihu to Clelin Ferrell and Drake Jackson is noticeable, to say the least.
Productive veterans are available, such as Justin Houston, Melvin Ingram, or Yannick Ngakoue, but they remained unsigned for a reason. Those are the names that tend to be available for a while.
Finally, safety. Yes, Tashaun Gipson was brought back. If Oliver and Hartsfield were replacements for Jimmie Ward and Tarvarius Moore, it feels like fool’s gold to expect Gipson to replicate his 2022 performance. Free safety is another area where the 49ers can address that future need in the draft.
John Johnson is available, but, late Friday afternoon, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Titans asked All-Pro safety Kevin Byard to take a pay cut. That did not go over well, and Byard could be on his way out. Tennessee’s general manager, Ran Carthon, could do business with his former employer if that situation goes awry.
Byard would likely need a new deal for him to land in the Bay Area. But, if Peter King is mildly correct in his assessment of the 49ers free agency so far, the Niners should be in on a star player such as Byard:
2. San Francisco. Signing Javon Hargrave, quite possibly the best talent in this free-agent class, adds to an embarrassment of riches on a strong defensive front. Aaron Donald is PFF’s only defensive interior player with a higher rating than Hargrave over the past two years. The Niners, in strengthening a strong group, did something smart and underrated. With all the quarterback uncertainty entering the new season, they know they may have to win a bunch of 20-16 games. This ensures a better chance to win the low-scoring ones.
I’m not sure how you watch the last month and a half of the 49ers last season and come away thinking they’ll score 20 points, regardless of who the quarterback is, but I get where King is coming from.
The 49ers would need to restructure another player if they intend to make more splashes during free agency. As it stands, the team would struggle to sign their 2023 NFL Draft class.