5 cheap free agents SF 49ers should sign in case of injury

Dekoda Watson #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Dekoda Watson #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /
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SF 49ers, Seattle Seahawks
Jermaine Kearse #15 of the Seattle Seahawks by Chris Culliver #29 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The SF 49ers aren’t alone in having a few names to dial up in NFL free agency in case one of their own suffers an injury, and here are five options.

Last year, the SF 49ers regularly made veteran cornerback Dontae Johnson the 53rd man on their 53-man roster for much of the season.

The one problem, of course, is being the 53rd player on a 53-man roster typically means you’re in danger of losing a roster spot at any moment in favor of someone else. But there’s the bonus of knowing the system, the schemes and having some familiarity with the coaching staff and players.

In Johnson’s case, he was alleviating some of the Niners’ own injury concerns over the second half of 2019, regularly bouncing back and forth between being a free agent and member of San Francisco’s roster. In simpler terms, general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan had Johnson on speed dial, ready to call him up whenever the team had some sort of need to fill a roster spot, particularly within the secondary.

The SF 49ers are already dealing with some injuries in training camp, and the team has made numerous roster moves to supplement areas needing help, including adding two more wide receivers last week to bolster some depth there. Considering the abbreviated offseason, soft-tissue and long-term injuries could be something of a norm for Shanahan and Co. this season, meaning the scrap heap of available players left in NFL free agency is likely to be salvaged a lot more than usual.

And with the Niners pressed up against the salary cap, big-name expensive players can’t be on the target list.

Instead, players like these five still-available free agents could be on the shortlist of names brought aboard in case San Francisco deals with more significant injuries.