5 under-the-radar free agents 49ers should try adding in 2022

Uchenna Nwosu #58 of the Los Angeles Chargers sacks C.J. Beathard #3 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Uchenna Nwosu #58 of the Los Angeles Chargers sacks C.J. Beathard #3 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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George Kittle, D.J. Reed, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) against Seattle Seahawks free safety D.J. Reed (29) Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers may not be able to acquire a lot of big-name players in 2022 NFL free agency, but these less-known players could be attractive options nonetheless.

If there’s good news for the San Francisco 49ers heading into the offseason, it’s the fact the core of their roster will remain intact for 2022.

However, the Niners do have some considerable voids to fill between now and training camp. And even though the NFL Draft will provide some opportunities for general manager John Lynch and Co. to onboard some cheaper rookie talent, grabbing some experienced players might be at the forefront of what the team needs to do.

With NFL free agency just over a month away (hard to even fathom that already), Over the Cap pegs San Francisco slightly over the cap by $4.48 million. Moving on from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will free up more than $25 million, yes. But with lucrative extensions pending for wide receiver Deebo Samuel and EDGE Nick Bosa, the 49ers aren’t likely to be overly heavy spenders on the free-agent market.

Instead, they may be forced to go after some bargain-basement options, and these five under-the-radar free agents could easily be attractive options.

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

Niners fans should be familiar with nickel cornerback D.J. Reed, their team’s fifth-round draft pick from 2018 who was subsequently grabbed off injury waivers by the Seattle Seahawks in 2020 and has gone on to cement himself as one of the better overlooked defensive backs in the league the last two seasons.

Reed is likely to command a notable pay increase as a free agent this offseason, particularly after recording two interceptions and breaking up 10 passes in 2021. But the good news is nickel defensive backs almost never command anything close to the kind of financial compensation boundary corners receive.

San Francisco could easily lose its own veteran nickel back, K’Waun Williams, to free agency this offseason. With Williams aging anyway, the recently turned 25-year-old Reed would be a smart pickup, getting the 49ers younger at a key position.