49ers: 5 bargains available in next wave of free agency
By Peter Panacy
No. 1: Wide Receiver Taylor Gabriel
If not cornerback, wide receiver is arguably the biggest positional need the 49ers have in the 2020 NFL Draft. And merely thinking the addition of Travis Benjamin in NFL free agency is the permanent fix would be wrong.
More from SF 49ers Free Agency
- Former 49ers kicker Robbie Gould still wants to play for Bears
- 49ers bolster wide receiver room by grabbing Chris Conley
- 49ers news: Kerry Hyder is back to bolster defensive line depth
- Low-risk free agents 49ers can still target before NFL Draft
- 49ers aren’t talking to this free agent (but they should)
True, Benjamin should compete with fourth-year wide receiver Trent Taylor for slot duties in camp. But Taylor also missed the better portion of the last two seasons with various injuries, and it’s anyone’s guess how effective he’ll be in 2020.
While head coach Kyle Shanahan doesn’t necessarily deploy the traditional WR1, WR2, slot formations as many other coaches do, it’s important to note Shanahan was attracted to the idea of adding slot receiver Taylor Gabriel to the Niners roster as a free agent back in 2017.
Gabriel ultimately signed with the Chicago Bears, however, opening up the door for Taylor to earn some recognition.
Now, with both Taylor and Benjamin entering 2020 with some injury history, some adequate depth and above-average competition should help matters a lot. Gabriel could help solve that.
Granted, the 2020 NFL Draft class is laden with talented wide receivers, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Niners add one early. But the reality is two could be added in the draft.
Perhaps Gabriel could free up a day-three draft pick and provide a proven veteran-level commodity instead.