Tier 2 Free Agents for 49ers
OK, now it’s time to look at pending free agents who’d likely lock down starting positions right away in 2019. If not that, they’d at least be viable backups with key roles.
Players like running back Jerick McKinnon and center Weston Richburg would have been classified as Tier 2 targets a year ago. While both had massive expectations placed upon them entering 2018, neither were quite considered among those we’d look at as Tier 1 players in NFL free agency.
Remember, the 49ers get three players from this group.
Offensive Guard Andy Levitre, Atlanta Falcons
Remember that connection with Kyle Shanahan and the Falcons? Well, that’s something to consider when targeting veteran offensive guard Andy Levitre.
Levitre, who’ll turn 33 years old this offseason, isn’t a long-term fix. But after landing on injured reserve after seeing just two games in 2018. That said, he’s been one of the more reliable offensive linemen in the league up to that point.
The Niners just re-signed right guard Mike Person to a three-year deal, and he should be an excellent candidate to start in the same spot this year. But Person’s value also lies in his ability to play all five spots along the O-line, meaning any injury elsewhere could push Person around.
More from Niner Noise
- 49ers 2023 NFL Draft tracker: Pick-by-pick news and analysis
- Predicting 49ers NFL Draft picks by looking at final mocks
- DraftKings NFL Draft Promo – Win $150 Guaranteed on Any $5 Bet
- 2023 NFL Draft: EDGE Byron Young could be impact player for 49ers
- 5 low-key NFL Draft options for 49ers who are flying under the radar
Projected contract: Two years, $6.25 million
Cornerback Pierre Desir, Indianapolis Colts
Remember that part about the 49ers needing cornerbacks? Well, one player who has flown under the radar the past few years is Indianapolis Colts cornerback Pierre Desir, who wasn’t able to land with the Seahawks after 2018 training camp but flourished in Indy last season.
True, he managed just one interception but had eight pass breakups. And when you note not a single Niners corner had a pick last year, that would appear to be an improvement.
Desir’s brief knowledge of Seattle’s scheme should help a would-be transition, and his 6-foot-1, 198-pound frame looks the part.
If Desir winds up hitting the open market, he’d be a solid choice and a great candidate to take over the No. 2 boundary cornerback spot opposite Richard Sherman.
Projected contract: Three years, $9.5 million
EDGE Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs
A few years ago, Kansas City Chiefs edge rusher Justin Houston would easily be in the Tier 1 category for NFL free agency.
That said, a veteran pass-rusher with a combined 18.5 sacks the past two seasons is never a bad addition, even if he’d be little more than just a situational edge player. With the Chiefs letting go of their 30-year-old former star, it’s likely this contract will be the final somewhat-lucrative one Houston cashes in on.
The 49ers are probably going to add a quality EDGE early in the 2019 NFL Draft. That said, two pass-rushers are always better than one, and many defensively stout teams have a quality pass rush from both sides.
This would be the case for San Francisco’s defense, making this a smart move.
Projected contract: Three years, $15 million
2019 projected cap hit from Tier 2 players: $11.29 million