The 49ers have freed up some cash for NFL free agency but still need to watch their budget, which means some sleepers could be in play.
It might not seem like a lot. But considering the Niners could make some additional roster moves and are still in the top third of teams in terms of cap space, it’s not the worst situation to be in.
Generating additional cap space would be wise to ensure Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams doesn’t walk, as he’ll likely command a deal in the range of $20 million annually. So, even if San Francisco clears enough space for Williams, general manager John Lynch and Co. still aren’t in a position where they can go after high-profile names.
That means sleepers.
Here are four offensive sleepers in NFL free agency Lynch and the 49ers can target.
49ers Sleeper Free-Agent No. 4: Tight End Trey Burton
A year ago, the Niners intended to bulk up their tight end depth behind George Kittle and did so via adding Charlie Woerner in the NFL Draft and then the veteran, Jordan Reed.
But Reed was a non-factor late in the year, even to the point of being a healthy scratch, so it’s not likely he returns. And while San Francisco extended depth tight end Ross Dwelley during the offseason, it wouldn’t be a shock to see head coach Kyle Shanahan look to bulk up this unit a bit more between now and training camp.
One under-the-radar player to watch here is the Indianapolis Colts tight end, Trey Burton, who at 29 years old, is both younger and has a better track record in terms of health than Reed.
Burton had a career-high 569 receiving yards and six touchdowns with the Chicago Bears back in 2018. And while his numbers fell off quite a bit the last two seasons, one has to figure he’d be poised for an offensive bounce-back within a Shanahan-like system with Kittle drawing most of the attention.
Plus, Burton would come cheap. Last year, he commanded a mere $910,000 base salary and doesn’t figure to be any more expensive heading into 2021.