San Francisco 49ers: A Budget-Conscious Guide to Free Agency
Offensive Tackle: Andre Smith, Cincinnati Bengals
The big money always goes to left tackles, as blindside protectors. Players like Cordy Glenn and Russell Okung are likely to get fairly large deals in free agency, as protecting your franchise quarterback is second in importance only to having that franchise quarterback in the first place.
The 49ers have Joe Staley, however, so they’re really not in the market for a free-agent left tackle. Instead, they could go with a more veteran presence at right tackle in Andre Smith, the former first-round selection. He’s likely the best right tackle available this offeason, and if the 49ers are going to spend big money anywhere, this is likely to be it. He could easily get a smaller deal than the younger Mitchell Schwartz, however, so I’m still listing him. He would be my top target for the 49ers this offseason.
Yes, I’m aware Anthony Davis plans to return, but missing an entire season means he shouldn’t be counted upon as a starter automatically upon his return. The 49ers could use extra insurance at the position, and a free agent makes more sense than using a first-round pick at this juncture.
Next: Offensive Guard