5 players 49ers should let walk in 2021 NFL free agency

Jaquiski Tartt #29 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Jaquiski Tartt #29 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Kendrick Bourne, 49ers
Kendrick Bourne #84 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

The 49ers have some tough NFL free agency decisions in 2021, meaning it’s best to let these five players walk next season.

Back in 2017, the San Francisco 49ers had the luxury of some lucrative spending and bringing aboard some high-profile free agents in what turned out to be a massive roster overhaul following a 2-14 season the year before.

Now, many of those players who either signed as free agents or were selected by the team in that year’s NFL Draft are hitting contract years.

And with the Niners coming off a Super Bowl appearance last February, it won’t be shocking a lot of those players will expect to be paid accordingly when their current deals are up.

San Francisco is no longer bathing in cap space. Yes, at least for 2021, the 49ers’ cap room is expected to be at just under $50 million, according to Over the Cap. But that doesn’t account for the money needed to sign the team’s 2020 rookie class, particularly the would-be rollover, nor does is count for the much-needed extension for All-Pro tight end George Kittle.

Players like Kittle, linebacker Fred Warner and second-year EDGE Nick Bosa are going to command top dollar at their respective positions in the very near future. Those pending contracts are going to hinder general manager John Lynch and the front office’s abilities to re-sign or extend other key pending free agents, prompting some awfully tough choices between now and the start of the league’s 2021 new year.

In a way, the 49ers already went through this via a cap-saving trade of Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts earlier this offseason.

Now, there are likely to be even more moves and non-moves, meaning these five pending free agents shouldn’t be on San Francisco’s priority re-sign list next year.