The free agency period for the 49ers is over a month away but the top-brass is already figuring out who they will re-sign and who they will let go. The team is around $30 million under the salary cap, so they are expected to make a run at some of the free agents available like at wide receiver. Before that however, the 49ers front office will need to re-sign important players from all three units who contributed to the teams run this past season. Below is a list of 49ers free agents broken down by offense, defense and special teams with comments on who should stay, who should go:
QB Alex Smith
We all know this is a must re-sign, and signs point to Alex Smith and the 49ers being able to hash out a multi-year deal that is fair to both sides. Smith was too instrumental and a leader on offense to let go.
RG Adam Snyder
Snyder has always been a good backup for the 49ers, starting and playing well every time his number is called. In 2011 Snyder took over for a struggling Chilo Rachal at right guard in week four, playing well resulting in him starting the rest of the season. Snyder should be re-signed to keep the offensive line intact.
RG Chilo Rachal
The former second-round pick has never lived up to expectations and that showed in 2011 with Rachal struggling early in the season resulting in him being benched. If Snyder is re-signed, there is no need to bring back Rachal. Let him go.
WR Joshua Morgan
Losing Morgan early last season hurt the 49ers at wide receiver all the way into the NFC Championship game. Morgan is not a number one type WR; however he has good hands and speed to compliment a number one receiver. Morgan should be brought back to add depth to the receiving corps.
TE Justin Peelle
The tight end played well filling in for Delaine Walker after he went down with a broken jaw. Peelle was many used as a blocking tight end with only one reception on the year. There is no need to re-sign Peelle with Walker and Vernon Davis on the roster. The 49ers should bring in a third tight end that can at least be a threat on offense if called on.
FB Moran Norris
Frank Gore is fan of Norris being the fullback plowing running lanes for him. With the emergence of Bruce Miller in 2011 which was a result of Norris being hurt for most of the season, the fullback should be released. Miller showed he was capable of handling the blocking duties and also provided a receiving threat out of the backfield.
WR Brett Swain (RFA)
Swain only played late in the season and is a restricted free agent meaning the 49ers would receive a draft pick if another team signs him. Don’t count on that, but the 49ers should bring him back at least to the practice squad.
OLB Ahmad Brooks
There is no doubt Brooks was a force on the outside for the 49ers with seven sacks and 49 tackles. The 49ers want to re-sign him but expect Brooks to test the free agent market to see what he can get. If the 49ers need to match another team’s big offer, Brooks is a player worth giving a big contract to.
FS Dashon Goldson
Goldson’s situation is much like Alex Smith’s, with both sides wanting to stay together for 2012 and beyond. The free safety is a top priority to re-sign, but this will probably end with the 49ers placing the franchise tag on Goldson. Whatever it takes, bring him back.
CB Carlos Rogers
Another player falling in the top priority to re-sign category is Rogers. This could get expensive as Rogers is coming off the best season in his career. Rogers wants to return to the 49ers but he is not afraid to test the market to get a bigger offer.
S Reggie Smith
One area the 49ers have plenty of depth at is safety so re-signing Reggie Smith is not necessary.
S Madieu Williams
Even though Williams was mainly used as a backup and on special teams, he did start three games and played well. The 49ers should re-sign Williams because he gives the defense a solid backup with 86 career starts.
LB Tavares Gooden
No need to re-sign Gooden with the depth at linebacker.
LB Larry Grant (RFA)
Teams will be looking to sign Grant after the way he played filling in for Patrick Willis in 2011. Grant needs to be re-signed to give the defense insurance in case Willis or NaVarro Bowman goes down.
LB Blake Costanzo
The linebacker proved his value to the 49ers with great blocking and tackling on special teams. Costanzo should be brought back.
S C.J. Spillman
Spillman is the best player on special teams and that alone is a reason why he should be retained. He has the coverage skills on defense to develop into a starter. Bring Spillman back.
WR Ted Ginn Jr.
Oh, Ted Ginn. If only you did not get hurt, who knows how the NFC Championship game would have ended. Ginn is a great kick and punt returner for the 49ers and gives the offense a receiver with a lot of speed. Ginn is too valuable to let go.