49ers Free Agency: 5 Players SF Should Target This Offseason

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Dec 19, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Muhammad Wilkerson – New York Jets DT (UFA)

Defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson fits a need area for the 49ers defensive line. Assuming that Williams is re-signed, he would be a big upgrade to this unit. The retirement of Justin Smith and the loss of Ray McDonald really hurt this line. Glenn Dorsey cannot stay healthy. Arik Armstead has a nice future but he is a rookie. Jerod-Eddie, even if he is re-signed, provides more depth than impact. Quinton Dial has looked OK, but he isn’t exactly setting the world on fire. Tank Carradine looks like he will be moved to a pass-rush specialist position.

Wilkerson currently ranks at No. 12 for defensive tackles with a grade of plus-88.6 per Pro Football Focus, with solid grades in both run and pass defense. He currently has 12 sacks on the season, which is well above-average for a defensive lineman. Also, like Miller, he is only 26 with several good years ahead for him.

Wilkerson’s 2015 cap hit is $6,969,000 and he will also be getting more money next year. Maybe the 49ers cannot afford both him and Miller, but getting one of these two impact players needs to be a priority for general manager Trent Baalke. The 49ers defense needs a major impact player.

Wilkerson would provide an immediate impact to the 49ers defensive line, and he would likely attract double-teams, which would benefit Williams, Dial etc. Additionally, his experience would help out the younger players like Armstead and Carradine.

Next: Bruce Irvin