The SF 49ers won’t have a ton of resources in 2021 NFL free agency, but these five NFC West free agents could be enticing enough.
The SF 49ers have plenty of their own problems leading up to 2021 NFL free agency, including having nearly 40 players nearing some kind of free-agent offseason deal in the next few months.
Plus, with an approximate $22.6 million in cap space against a projected $176 million salary cap, per Over the Cap, the Niners don’t exactly have a ton of resources to lure in big-name free agents or sign all of their high-ticket players poised to hit the open market this March.
That said, San Francisco’s situation isn’t as bad as it could be. The team could potentially free up $24.1 million by moving quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason. Even without that, when compared to the SF 49ers’ NFC West division rivals, only the Arizona Cardinals have more at just above $24.8 million.
The Seattle Seahawks have just $17.6 million in cap space, whereas the LA Rams are over the cap by more than $22 million.
Needless to say, the Niners may be able to purge some players from within the division this offseason.
Contract numbers and fit both need to be taken into account, yes. But perhaps these five NFC West pending free agents could be on San Francisco’s radar.
No. 5: EDGE Markus Golden, Arizona Cardinals
It’s possible the SF 49ers are forced to move on from oft-injured EDGE Dee Ford this offseason, generating a lot of dead money but freeing up some cap space to at least get someone on the field who can play a full 16-game season.
In addition to the lack of pass-rushing depth behind fellow EDGE Nick Bosa, the Niners could afford to look at a reclamation project, of sorts, not unlike how they did with EDGE Kerry Hyder in 2020 when he led the team with 8.5 sacks.
Hyder could be a tough re-sign coming off a career year.
Instead, one target is Cardinals EDGE Markus Golden, who reached double-digit sacks twice in his career, first with Arizona back in 2016 and then again with the NY Giants in 2019.
Golden never quite panned out during his second stint with the Cardinals after a midseason trade from New York last year, so that’ll likely drive his price tag down substantially.
While he’ll turn 30 years old before the start of the 2021 season, Golden still has a lot of upside still left and could provide that much-needed pass-rushing depth to help solidify the outside portions of San Francisco’s defensive front.