5 potential 49ers free agents we will miss (if they aren’t re-signed)

Defensive tackle D.J. Jones #93 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Defensive tackle D.J. Jones #93 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Jeff Wilson Jr., San Francisco 49ers
Jeff Wilson #22 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /

The 49ers face some tough decisions in NFL free agency this offseason, and these pending free agents might be hard to see leave the team.

If only NFL free agency was such a simple process: bid farewell to the players who aren’t good and are underperforming while holding onto those who are top contributors.

It doesn’t always work that way, though.

The San Francisco 49ers don’t face as arduous an offseason entering 2022 as they did a year ago with regards to their pending free-agent class, but there are plenty of well-known players who are poised to hit the open market and may not ultimately re-sign with the club.

Even if the Niners trade or release quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason, which they’re expected to do, Over the Cap projects general manager John Lynch to have approximately $20 million in cap space to attack the offseason, and roughly $8 million of that will be needed to sign the 2022 NFL Draft class.

Simply put, it might be difficult to retain all of San Francisco’s top pending free agents, and we’ll surely miss seeing these five particular ones if they’re no longer playing in a 49ers uniform next season.

49ers free-agent No. 5: Running back Jeff Wilson Jr.

Underdog stories are always cool, and few epitomize the meaning of exceeding expectations better than running back Jeff Wilson Jr., the undrafted free agent who actually ended up leading the Niners in both rushing yards (600) and all-purpose touchdowns (10) in 2020 when there were few other healthy options available.

Wilson delivered two 100-yard games that season and was the primary reason why San Francisco pulled off victories over the New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals in Weeks 7 and 16, respectively.

While a torn meniscus sidelined him for the first half of 2021, Wilson nevertheless managed nearly 300 yards and two touchdowns over nine games played, proving to be an underrated part of the 49ers’ rotation out of the backfield.

An unrestricted free agent for the first time since going pro, the Niners may not have the room needed to retain him even though fellow running back Raheem Mostert is a free agent, too.

Even though Wilson wasn’t a massive part of San Francisco’s offense for any lengthy stretch, he surely deserves to be appreciated.