5 NFC West free agents 49ers would love to pluck away in 2022

Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers is hit by Quandre Diggs #37 of the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers is hit by Quandre Diggs #37 of the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Deebo Samuel, D.J. Reed, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) is pushed out of bounds by Seattle Seahawks cornerback D.J. Reed (2) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers may not be heavy players in NFL free agency in 2022, but these pending NFC West free agents would surely look good in a Niners uniform.

Currently, according to Over the Cap, the San Francisco 49ers are projected to be a shade above the estimated $208.2 million salary cap for 2022.

Roughly $4.48 million, according to OTC’s latest estimation, a notable move into the red from the previously reported $5 million under the cap. Incentives, bonuses and seven players making the 2022 Pro Bowl likely increased the financial obligations for this season, thus lessening whatever carryover the Niners would have entering next year.

However, as has been the hot topic in recent weeks, San Francisco is expected to clear $25 million when it trades quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason. And while about $10 million of that will be saved for the 2022 NFL Draft class and subsequent in-season free-agent deals, general manager John Lynch would probably anticipate having a remaining $15 million to attack NFL free agency this offseason.

The 49ers aren’t likely to be big-time spenders. However, they surely may be interested in combing through the list of pending free agents, particularly some within the NFC West, to see if some upgrades and reinforcements could be had that way.

Here are five players within the Niners’ own division who may end up being targets for Lynch and Co. this offseason.

49ers NFC West free-agent target No. 5: Cornerback D.J. Reed, Seahawks

A reunion? It should be in the cards.

San Francisco is poised to lose a considerable crop of its cornerbacks this offseason, and it might stand for upgrades anyway.

One of the players who could be on his way out is veteran nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams, who will turn 31 years old by the start of the 2022 season and saw a notable decrease in play as last year wore on.

In the interest of getting both younger and potentially cheaper, the 49ers might consider welcoming back one of their former NFL Draft picks, Seattle Seahawks nickel corner D.J. Reed, who was waived by the Niners with an injury designation back in 2020 and was subsequently claimed by the Hawks that year.

Since then, Reed has emerged as a quality member of Seattle’s secondary, starting 22 games in his two-year Seahawks stint with four interceptions and having allowed a passer rating of 67.8 in 2021.

Pretty good. And having just turned 25 years old, Reed is only entering his prime.