49ers list of exclusive rights free agents for 2022

Jauan Jennings #15 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Jauan Jennings #15 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The 49ers have a notable list of exclusive-rights free agents heading into 2022, but the good news is those players won’t go anywhere unless the Niners want them gone.

NFL free agency is always about the big-name players, particularly those departing their respective teams and those who are being onboarded.

The San Francisco 49ers have a pretty notable list of unrestricted and restricted free agents heading into 2022, which will create some challenges with the team currently $4.48 million in the red and over the cap, according to Over the Cap.

The Niners will clear just over $25.5 million, though, if they move quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason. And while that’s not directly related to NFL free agency, it’ll have an impact on players general manager John Lynch and Co. would like to re-sign.

Way down the list, however, are the exclusive-rights free agents, and there are some names worth mentioning here.

49ers exclusive-rights free agents for 2022

It’s a bit of a misnomer to identify ERFAs as actual free agents, as they’re not technically free agents at all. By the nature of these contracts, ERFAs can only engage in contractual talks with the team that holds their rights.

OTC’s definition is as follows:

"The ERFA is not allowed to negotiate a contract with another team once the tender is applied. Essentially they are locked in for another season with their original team. If no tender is made or the tender is rescinded then the player becomes an unrestricted free agent. If that occurs they do not factor into the compensatory equation."

Many of these players are located towards the bottom of the team’s depth chart. In San Francisco’s case, however, there are some notable players who caught fans’ attention in 2021.

  • OL Colton McKivitz
  • RB JaMycal Hasty
  • WR Jauan Jennings
  • LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles
  • DT Kevin Givens

Each one of those players figured in some prominent roles over the season, the biggest being Jennings who splashed upon the scene after redshirting his rookie 2020 campaign on the practice squad and then injured reserve.

Jennings finished his rookie year with 24 catches for 282 yards and five touchdowns during the regular season, emerging as a quality tertiary option at the position behind fellow wideouts Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.

Read More: 49ers 2022 free-agent tracker: Who’s coming and going?

Meanwhile, Hasty was a modest change-of-pace tailback and at-times special teams return specialist, while Givens earned his way into the defensive line rotation and played over 21 percent of the defense’s snaps last year.

There’s no reason for the 49ers to avoid bringing any of these players back, as their respective contracts won’t likely cost against the top-51 number used to determine offseason salary caps.

And at least two or three of them could even be pegged as safe roster bets for 2022, too.

Next. 49ers' 15 best free-agent acquisitions of all time. dark