Too early look at possible 49ers free-agent targets in 2021

Joe Thuney #62 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Joe Thuney #62 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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Bud Dupree, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bud Dupree #48 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

EDGE Bud Dupree

Let me make this clear: When EDGE Dee Ford is on the field, he is a difference maker.

The problem is, he has tendinitis in his knee that caused a large reduction in his snap count.”The best ability is availability, and he needs to show he can stay on the field this coming season to justify his contract.

Luckily, it does appear he’s taken steps to rectify the situation:

If the surgery doesn’t hold, however, and there’s no improvement this coming season, the 49ers can save $12.8 million by cutting him after next season. With Executive Vice President of Football Operations Paraag Marathe negotiating contracts, that $12.8 million would go a long way towards getting another premier pass-rusher to pair with fellow EDGE Nick Bosa.

Fortunately, Bud Dupree has shown an aptitude for getting to the quarterback with 11.5 sacks in 2019. He also happens to play for a team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, that has to pay fellow EDGE T.J. Watt a lot of money, making him very likely to be available.

Nick’s brother, Joey Bosa, is also scheduled to be a free agent, but there’s no way the Chargers let him get away. If they can’t extend him, he’ll likely be slapped with the franchise tag. That does make his running mate, Melvin Ingram, another viable option for San Francisco, as he’s set to hit free agency as well.