The official NFL free agency period does not start for the San Francisco 49ers until March 13, however many Niner fans already know what position we expect to be signed: wide receiver. Ask any Niner fan and they will tell you the biggest hole we need to fill is at wide receiver. Michael Crabtree has not proven he is a reliable number one receiver and the depth chart behind him, Joshua Morgan (if he re-signs), Ted Ginn Jr., Kyle Williams, is not impressive.
By advancing all the way to the NFC Championship game, the 49ers were awarded the 30th pick in each of the seven rounds in the draft. The wide receiver class in the 2012 draft is not all that impressive with the top-three WR’s (Justin Blackmon, Alshon Jeffery, Michael Floyd) most likely off the board before the 49ers make their first selection. Even if one of them is available, its no guarantee they will be able to take over as the number one receiver in the upcoming season.
With the 49ers $30 million under the salary cap, the team is poised to make a big signing on March 13 when free agency begins. Signing a big-time wide receiver has its risks and is no guarantee to be the savior at wide receiver but it’s a better option than relying solely on the draft. The 49ers badly need a playmaking wide receiver that strikes fear into defenses. Here is a list of potential free agent wide receivers, in the order I think the 49ers should go after the available WR’s:
Mike Wallace, Steelers (Age: 26): This is a long shot and the 49ers would have to give up a first-round pick, but signing Wallace would answer all the 49ers receiving needs. He is a restricted free agent which means the 49ers would need to make an offer the Steelers cannot match (which might be easy with the Steelers $10 million over the salary cap) and would have to give up the 30th pick in the draft. To me it’s worth it. He is a deep, fast threat and has had the least troubles of anyone on the list.
Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs (Age 27): Bowe has shown great production in his five seasons with the Chiefs. What is remarkable about Bowe is he has put up great stats with mediocre quarterbacks throwing to him. He would be number one on the list but there is no way the Chiefs let go of one of their few offensive threats. If for some reason he is not re-signed, Bowe jumps to number one on the list.
Vincent Jackson, Chargers (Age: 29): Jackson has great size (6-5, 230) and speed but his past issues with DUI’s and his long contract holdout raises concerns. Still, he is a good option to look at if Wallace and Bowe are not available.
Stevie Johnson, Bills (Age: 26): Johnson has great speed and separation but that doesn’t mean he will catch the pass if open. Also, he is the second coming of Terrell Owens and I am sure Jim Harbaugh and company do not want to deal with Johnson’s antics.
Let us what you think in the poll and comments!
Who Should the 49ers Go After in Free Agency at Wide Receiver?
- Mike Wallace (48%, 203 Votes)
- Dwayne Bowe (20%, 85 Votes)
- Vincent Jackson (18%, 76 Votes)
- Stevie Johnson (7%, 31 Votes)
- None: Draft a wide receiver to develop and hope for Crabtree to have a breakout season (7%, 30 Votes)
Total Voters: 425