San Francisco 49ers: A Budget-Conscious Guide to Free Agency
The San Francisco 49ers have plenty of cap space and plenty of needs to fill. What might they do in free agency?
The San Francisco 49ers have tons of salary cap room available this offseason—roughly $53.5 million, per Over the Cap. That’s an exceptional amount of space to have; only two teams in the NFL have more cap room at the moment.
That being said, the 49ers strategy has never been to bring in the highest-priced free agents. Trent Baalke and the front office prefer a strategy where free agents are used to supplement a team that has been built through the draft. This is generally a more sustainable method, though the sheer amount of cap space the 49ers have this season may push them to spend a little more than they normally would.
It’s unlikely, then, that we’d see an all-star class of free agents come into town. The 49ers aren’t likely to splurge for Alshon Jeffery and Josh Norman and Von Miller. They may bring in one big-time free agent, but they’re not going to try to sign an All-Star team when free agency begins. Instead, they’re much more likely to try to find bargains and deals elsewhere, looking for key players while trying to find the next superstars with their boatload of draft picks.
With that in mind, let’s look at some medium-priced free agents the 49ers could consider bringing in this offseason. We’re looking for players who likely won’t be in the top 10 in their position in terms of contract value, but could still provide a boost. As an added difficulty level, we’re also looking for younger players, as the 49ers aren’t the sort of team that’s a few veterans away from contending. They’re more in a position to bring young talent in in an attempt to build for multiple future seasons, rather than putting everything on one run in 2016.
Here are some second-tier and budget free agents who could be wearing the red and gold in 2016, as the 49ers attempt to continue to be smart, savvy shoppers.