The 49ers have done a fantastic job under Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch at uncovering undrafted free agent gems once the NFL Draft concludes. For every Richard Sherman, there was an Emmanuel Moseley.
As the 49ers roster continues to add skill, fewer undrafted free agents make the 53-man roster before Week 1. Running back Jordan Mason was a great story during the preseason last year, as he made it impossible for the coaches to cut ties with him.
Judging by the money the team spent, or lack thereof, on undrafted free agents, the Niners aren’t anticipating any undrafted free agents to make the final roster. Kyle Shanahan has continually mentioned how confident he feels about where the roster currently stands.
Each team was allotted a rookie signing bonus fund cap for the 2023 draft of $172,337. According to Nick Korte of Over the Cap, three of the four NFC West teams were in the bottom 10 of spending:
Most guaranteed money given to 2023 UDFAs:— Nick Korte (@nickkorte) May 16, 2023
To avoid confusion, the numbers above consist of all guarantees handed out by teams and not just the signing bonus money alone. But it doesn’t underscore the point about the 49ers finishing in the bottom half of the league in terms of giving out guarantees.
When you go through each UDFA contract from the 2023 draft, not only is Joey Fisher’s $130,000 the most guaranteed money the 49ers handed out, but it’s the only guaranteed money.
If we follow the money, Fisher has the best chance at making the 49ers roster. Fisher started all 48 games at Shepherd University in four years. Here’s a blurb from Sports Info Solutions on Fisher:
Overall, Fisher will bring a fleshed-out toolbox to the next level. He is a football junkie with notable instincts, the demeanor of a steel-worker, and enough physical tools to hold up. Though he is not a flashy or high-ceiling prospect, he is destined to be a journeyman that can fill multiple roles and will always be up to the challenge.Fisher should be coveted by OL coaches and wise front offices alike and has the skills to be a championship team’s top reserve OL immediately and should develop into a starter over time.
That sounds like Daniel Brunskill, who the 49ers found in another league.
For Fisher, or any UDFA, they face an uphill battle walking into a roster returning all but three starters from the NFC Championship game.