The San Francisco 49ers are likely to grab an outside edge rusher in the 2019 NFL Draft. But NFL free agency might be another option to bolster this pressing need.
In all likelihood, the San Francisco 49ers are going to grab an outside pass-rusher in the 2019 NFL Draft, probably with one of their first two picks.
But to assume that’s the only move the Niners make to address their edge rush would be foolish. Teams can never have too many pass-rushers. And after finishing 2018 tied for 22nd in the league with just 37 sacks, it would be smart if general manager John Lynch and Co. looked to supplement this need with more than just one body.
The draft is deep with outside pass-rushing talent, thankfully. Yet NFL free agency should provide a few options as well. Armed with over $60 million in projected cap space this offseason, San Francisco should explore some available EDGEs on the open market.
That market is going to be interesting leading up to the start of free agency this March. Sure, players like the Dallas Cowboys’ Demarcus Lawrence or the Kansas City Chiefs’ Dee Ford will command a lot of attention. So will the Houston Texans’ Jadeveon Clowney, the New England Patriots’ Trey Flowers and Seattle Seahawks’ Frank Clark.
Yet it would be something of a shock if each of those players weren’t retained or re-signed by their respective teams. Remember, elite pass-rushers are nearly as vital to a team’s success as a franchise-caliber quarterback. That’s the way the NFL is working now.
That said, there are other options out there the Niners should strongly consider.
Here are five names to watch between now and the start of free agency.