Oct 13, 2012; Bloomington, IN, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins (52) against the Indiana Hoosiers during the 2nd half at Memorial Stadium. Ohio State defeated Indiana 52-49. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

49ers: Resigning Sopoaga May Be Harder Than You Think

Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (27) runs against San Francisco 49ers nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga (90) during the third quarter in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

As the San Francisco 49ers begin restructuring their roster, they will need to first decide which of their own players will be rewarded contract extensions. Several key players are set to become unrestricted free-agents when free-agency begins on March 12, 2013 at 4:00 pm, including FS Dashon Goldson, NT Isaac Sopoaga, ILB Tavares Gooden, ILB Larry Grant, DE Ricky Jean-Francois, CB Tramaine Brock, FS Darcel McBath, TE Delanie Walker, WR Ted Ginn Jr., WR Randy Moss, and G Leonard Davis. And although many of these players will not be retained, core players like Goldson and Walker should be the exception.

However, with a quality player like Sopoaga, should the 49ers reward him? Only if the price is right! I’m a true believe in building a defense from the inside out, and with the 49ers running a 3-4, makes that philosophy all the more important. With that said, I don’t believe the 49ers should re-sign “Soap” if he commands top dollar.

Nov.25, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Randy Starks (left) talks with umpire Garth DeFelice (right) during the second half against the Seattle Seahawks at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins won 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

First of all, although Soap is ideal for a 3-4 defense, there are other alternatives out there such as Maake Kemoeatu (Ravens), Randy Starks (Dolphins), Casey Hampton (Steelers), Aubrayo Franklin (Chargers), and Alan Branch (Seahawks) that will be just as capable of filling his shoes. In addition, should the 49ers decide to pass on these free-agents, the draft provides another great resource to fill Soap’s departure.

This year’s NFL draft class for defensive lineman is one of the deepest at the position in years. I have been mocking drafts for seven years now, and to see the amount of good players at the defensive line position is encouraging. I have a total of 13 defensive lineman projected to go in the first-round. That’s depth! Some players whom the 49ers may want to consider toward the end of round 1 include John Jenkins (Georgia), Johnthan Hankins (Ohio St.), and Kwame Geathers (Georgia). All of those players are good enough to hold the point of attack and command double teams.

In a perfect world, I think it is safe to say that we would all want Sopoaga back in the red and gold. But this is not a perfect world, and with other top priorities on the 49ers wish list, such as re-signing Dashon Goldson, will more than likely make Soap another cap casualty.


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Tags: Isaac Sopoaga NFL Free Agency San Francisco 49ers

  • Keeping_It_Heel

    IMO Soap is one of the worst 3-4 tackles in the league. I want him replaced and I think the 1st round is the perfect spot to find one

    • El Virgo

      Can you occupy blockers, two three guys and let your LB’s make plays? I don’t think so, if he was told that his job is to occupy blockers and let the DE’s and LB’s to make plays in the back field and to pass rush then he is doing his job, the 49ers are not utilizing him in anything, he is just like a ticking time bomb ready to explode, but they are holding him back. Leave the front seven, but let’s focus on our 2dary they got burned in the super bowl BIG TIME!.

      • Keeping_It_Heel

        Listen, that is what a 3-4 NT is supposed to do and based on that alone Soap is one of the two or three worst NT’s in football period. He’s a decent player and that’s all, a lot of blame has been pushed onto the secondary and rightfully so but the lack of a pass rush is equally to blame. The Smith brothers decline late in the season due to injuries might have been the main cause but Soap didn’t help matters. A younger replacement along with a cheaper vet FA is needed here, Soap needs to go.