49ers free agency: Predicting which free agents Niners re-sign

Offensive guard Laken Tomlinson #75 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Offensive guard Laken Tomlinson #75 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Daniel Brunskill, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Daniel Brunskill (60) Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers face some tough challenges and choices in NFL free agency this offseason, so Niner Noise goes through and predicts who re-signs in 2022.

Right now, according to Over the Cap, the San Francisco 49ers are predicted to be $4.478 million above the $208.2 million salary cap for 2022.

It’s not the worst situation of all time, of course, and some minor roster jockeying would likely free up the necessary space to get the Niners’ top-51 contracts under the cap by the start of the league new year on March 16.

And a bigger chunk, more than $25 million, will be freed up if and when the team moves on from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason, which it’s expected to do.

San Francisco has a total of 25 free agents of either the unrestricted or restricted variety, plus five more exclusive-rights free agents that can’t sign elsewhere and technically aren’t free agents by the traditional term.

So, which free agents will the 49ers re-sign this offseason?

It’s impossible to know, of course, but let’s make some predictions and see who we think the Niners retain in 2022.

First, let’s start with the restricted free agents.

49ers 2022 NFL free agency predictions: Restricted free agents

San Francisco could offer a first-, second- or original-round tender for any of its RFA players, and OTC lists the one-year tenders with the following values for 2022:

  • Round 1: $5,562,000
  • Round 2: $3,986,000
  • Original: $2,433,000

The only way a team can pluck a tendered RFA is if it dishes out that draft pick back to the team offering a tender.

49ers linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair

With Dre Greenlaw missing all but three regular-season games in 2021 because of a groin injury, Azeez Al-Shaair had to step into the fray and did so relatively admirably, finishing second on the team in total tackles (102) while also adding nine tackles for a loss.

It’s possible Greenlaw, who has one more year on his own rookie contract, is dangled as trade bait this offseason, but it’s likely the 49ers do all they can to keep Al-Shaair on the roster for one more season.

Prediction: Round 2 tender

49ers offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill

Daniel Brunskill won the starting right guard position over 2021 rookie second-round draft pick, Aaron Banks, and went on to start each one of the Niners games over the course of the season.

While San Francisco might want to revert Brunskill back into a primary backup role, his value to the depth chart can’t be understated.

Prediction: Round 2 tender

49ers EDGE Kentavius Street

A little tougher a call for Kentavius Street, who was an effective part of the defensive line rotation in 2021, notching 27 tackles, a forced fumble and three sacks while playing just over 32 percent of the 49ers defensive snaps.

Rotational linemen are fairly easy to find, though, so Street probably doesn’t figure to be a major part of the Niners’ future plans.

Prediction: No tender