5 underachieving free agents SF 49ers could target to bolster roster
By Peter Panacy
The SF 49ers aren’t in a position to spend big in NFL free agency, yet taking low-budget chances on cheap free agents could be the way to go.
While the SF 49ers aren’t in the worst salary cap situation in the league, boasting just over $13 million in cap space, according to Over the Cap, having nearly 40 players poised to hit NFL free agency this offseason means general manager John Lynch and Co. aren’t afforded the luxury of spending big this offseason.
The Niners are likely going to have to resort to cheap rookie NFL Draft selections with the hopes they develop quickly and/or go with low-budget options on the free-agent market. While the latter could provide some decent options, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see Lynch and Co. target some players who have underwhelmed as of late, thereby driving their asking price down heading into 2021.
These players may be reclamation projects, yes. But sometimes those lowish investments, like EDGE Kerry Hyder in 2020 who ended up leading the team with 8.5 sacks despite being mostly a journeyman in previous years, can pan out beyond desired expectations.
Perhaps San Francisco could find some similar luck by targeting these five underperforming free agents this offseason.
No. 5: Cornerback Quinton Dunbar, Seattle Seahawks
The SF 49ers could lose cornerbacks Richard Sherman, Jason Verrett, Ahkello Witherspoon and Dontae Johnson, among others, to free agency this offseason. Even if the Niners retain one or two of those names, they’ll need some reinforcements.
While the draft could provide options, going after some veteran experience could be a boost.
And San Francisco could target Seattle Seahawks corner Quinton Dunbar.
Dunbar was supposed to be the perfect addition for Seattle when he was acquired from the Washington Football Team in 2020 a year after recording four interceptions and eight pass breakups. But Dunbar eventually landed on injured reserve after appearing in just six games, and those in-game efforts weren’t overly impressive with the 28 year old receiving a paltry 47.7 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.
Still, the 6-foot-2 Dunbar could do with a change in scenery and fits the build the SF 49ers have preferred with their boundary cornerbacks.
And the unimpressive 2020 efforts likely make Dunbar awfully cheap on the open market.