The San Francisco 49ers are apparently signing free-agent wide receiver Pierre Garcon, according to multiple reports, before NFL free agency officially begins on March 9.
Categorize this into the rumor mill, but it’s all but determined the San Francisco 49ers will be signing free-agent wide receiver Pierre Garcon to join the Niners ranks in 2017.
Multiple reports broke the news Tuesday morning, including ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
NFL free agency doesn’t officially start until 4 p.m. ET on March 9, although teams are allowed to enter discussions with free agents two days prior to the aforementioned date.
And according to Mortensen, the 49ers are going to be handing over $16 million of their considerable cap space to Garcon in his first year with the Niners.
Remaining contract details have yet to be determined or announced.
Garcon, who will turn 31 years old this August, spent the last five years of his career with the Washington Redskins. Now-49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was Garcon’s offensive coordinator for the first two years of that five-year deal.
And in 2013, Garcon led the league with 113 receptions:
Shanahan was certainly a selling point for Garcon, who still managed to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards last season despite being the No. 2 behind Redskins wideout DeSean Jackson, also a free agent.
The move likely pushes any chance of San Francisco landing free-agent wide receiver Alshon Jeffery out the door, as suggested by KNBR 680’s Kevin Jones:
At any rate, Garcon might be the better option anyway. Jeffery hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season since 2014, and his four-game suspension for a PED violation surely raised red flags around the NFL.
Additionally, the Niners likely front-loaded Garcon’s deal considering the large amount of salary cap space the team has this offseason.
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But there is still a pressing question San Francisco must answer — who throws Garcon the ball?
The 49ers could still be in play for a trade to land Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, but that would likely be a hefty move in both draft capital and cost. A bridge free-agent veteran is also an option, as well as prospects in the NFL Draft.
Still, at least the Niners will have a reliable target to make plays in the passing game. And that’s a much-needed thing.