The San Francisco 49ers were relatively quiet throughout the first wave of free agency. The team was rumored to be pursuing some big-name players but ultimately settled with re-signing most of their own. Niner Noise grades the moves the 49ers made in the first few days of free agency.
Free agency officially started when the clock struck 1 P.M. Pacific time on Wednesday, March 9. At that moment, the new league year began and scheduled free agents were able to sign with teams. However, leading up to Wednesday afternoon, the league has a legal tampering window in which teams and agents are able to begin negotiating contracts with free agents of other teams. Thus, plenty of announcements were made leading up to the official start of the new league year.
Before beginning, despite the start of free agency, we’ve got primers to keep you covered or catch you up!
The San Francisco 49ers were going to be in the free agency mix regardless of what they chose to do. The roster was poor in 2015, the team has a tremendous amount of salary cap space and some of the better players were scheduled free agents. As such, whether the 49ers focused on their own players or targeted others, it was clear that 49ers fans would recognize the names floating throughout the week.
Sometimes the best moves are the ones that aren’t made. That appears to be the belief of the 49ers’ front office and general manager Trent Baalke. The team has remained quiet in free agency, often losing bidding wars for the players they are rumored to be interested in. The criticism for that strategy can be fair or undue, depending on your perception of the 49ers roster and how best to rebuild the team.
Fans have seen that Baalke prefers to stockpile draft picks and rarely engages in multiple high-priced free agents. The largest move Baalke has made over recent years was to bring in wide receiver Torrey Smith last season. Unlike Smith, the bargains come to those who wait.
However, fans have heard for the last couple months that the 49ers were loaded with salary cap space and were prepared to do what it takes to create a competent roster. In that case, silence feels like the exact opposite of what you might expect. It’s hard to judge how the roster moves of any team will play out in the following season. The common sayings surrounding who wins the offseason and who wins the Super Bowl all apply here.
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The first wave of free agency is closing, with many of the most expensive players off of the market. Now is the time that the 49ers may actually begin to act more. Before they get to that, let’s assess each of the moves they’ve made until now. Each of the grades will take into account the reported salaries of the players as well as the fit for the team moving forward. And, because we need something to feel good about, perhaps a little emotional investment in each grade also.
In no specific order, here are the grades for each of the 49ers moves in the first wave of free agency.
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