Free agency is now in its second week, so let’s grade the team’s acquisitions and re-signings thus far.
Javon Hargrave, DT - A+
Hargrave is the big splash of free agency. Anytime you turn a position group from a question mark to strength, it’s a huge win. Weakening the returning NFC champion Eagles is a nice touch as well.
Paired with Arik Armstead at DT and Nick Bosa on EDGE, makes this front four is the closest it has been to the lethal 2019 unit. An underrated aspect of this move is Hargrave’s durability. Missing only three games in his career is a huge plus.
Tashaun Gipson, Sr., S - A
Gipson was an underrated signing for the 49ers in 2021. Many believed he would fill in for Jimmie Ward until he was healthy enough to return. Ward did return, but not at FS.
Five interceptions were good enough for the second-most in the NFL in 2021. His re-signing stabilizes the back end, continues his mentorship to Talanoa Hufanga, and is a placeholder for the FS of the future.
Sam Darnold, QB - B-
When John Lynch was asked at the combine about the addition of a veteran QB, Lynch confirmed the obvious about their interest in the market. It comes down to a numbers game, the 49ers are waiting for Brock Purdy to return from his UCL surgery. It was necessary to bring in a veteran to take snaps and provide insurance.
Enter Sam Darnold. There was a report that the 49ers offered a first-round pick to the Jets for Darnold. The Jets declined. Darnold is someone Kyle Shanahan has coveted for some time. Training camp will be more of a competition than people would like to believe with Darnold and Trey Lance.
Given the flashes of Darnold’s talent and how 49ers receivers are constantly running wide-open. The room is insulated while Darnold can follow Geno Smith’s path to resurgence.
Kevin Givens, DT - B
With Hargrave’s addition, Givens returning provides a familiar face and valuable depth for the defensive line. Two million dollars is a drop in the bucket for a player with an increased role over the last few seasons.
Considering the 49ers’ issues with health, depth is paramount. Solid re-signing.
Jake Brendel, C - B+
After playing in only three career NFL games, Brendel turned in 20 solid games for the 49ers at center. The stability provided by this re-signing allows the 49ers to turn their attention to RT.
There is still hope that Brendel can continue to grow and develop, even at age 31.
Clenin Ferrell, DE - C
Death, taxes, and the 49ers bringing in an overlooked EDGE rusher to work with Kris Kocurek. The former number four overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft is the latest recipient of the Kocurek stimulus package.
While labeled an EDGE, Ferrell’s reputation has been much more of a run stuffer. He’ll slide into a rotation, but here’s to betting on Kocurek getting the most out of Ferrell.
Isaiah Oliver, CB - B-
Oliver wasn’t a flashy name left in free agency, but the 49ers covet his ability to stop the run and his length as a potential nickel corner.
For now, Oliver will compete with second-year cornerback Samuel Womack for the starting nickel position. It’s a good bet that Oliver will win the job, given his experience.
This has the feel of the most underrated pickup, in terms of impact and production.
Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, LB - C+
DFF is more of a special teams contributor, but doubles as LB depth with the departure of Azeez Al-Shaair to Tennessee. He’ll have his chance to gain more playing time as one of the two candidates (Marcelino McCrary-Ball) to fill Al-Shaair’s role on defense.
T.Y. McGill, DT - C+
More depth for the defensive line, and McGill did flash at times in 2022. McGill dealt with an ankle injury last season, but can produce when called upon.
The 49ers never stop adding depth to the trenches.
Ross Dwelley, TE - C-
Dwelley, for now, looks primed to return for his sixth season as a 49er. Unfortunately, his time hasn’t produced many highlights or statistics. Dwelley isn’t a blocker and hasn’t shown the ability to consistently separate in the NFL.
Look for the 49ers to add another TE in the draft, which puts Dwelley on the roster bubble in training camp.
Myles Hartsfield, CB/S - C-
Steve Wilks had a hand in the signing of Hartsfield. He will contribute immediately on special teams, with versatility at nickel corner and safety.
Hartsfield is depth in the secondary at this point.
Jon Feliciano, OL - B-
Daniel Brunskill’s departure as the utility offensive lineman left the 49ers with a need for versatile and reliable depth.
Feliciano has experience in multiple positions and the league. Serving as a safety net for this team and a solid locker room guy. This is the type of move 49ers fans have grown accustomed to.