5 bargain free agents 49ers can target this NFL offseason

Jayron Kearse #27 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Jayron Kearse #27 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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The 49ers aren’t going to have a ton of wiggle room in NFL free agency but nevertheless have some needs, and these five low-cost players can help.

Right now, according to Over the Cap, the San Francisco 49ers are $4.4 million above the projected $208.2 million salary threshold.

If and when the team trades quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, freeing up more than $25 million, general manager John Lynch will still have roughly $21 million at his disposal, but about $7 million of that will be reserved to sign the Niners’ 2022 NFL Draft class.

And if San Francisco wants to re-sign players like safety Jaquiski Tartt or left guard Laken Tomlinson, there won’t be quite a lot left to attack NFL free agency.

As such, Lynch and Co. might have to shop more at the proverbial free agency “discount market” instead, which might not be the worst of ideas.

All the splash deals on day one of NFL free agency tend to be overspend-type contracts, and it’s rare to see those four- and five-year deals reach their final seasons before players are cut to save cap space down the line.

The bargain deals, however, are much more manageable, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see San Francisco go after some low-cost free agents this offseason.

Such as these five.

49ers free-agent target No. 5: Safety Jayron Kearse, Cowboys

There’s a real chance Tartt walks in free agency, and it’s probably premature to assume the 49ers are comfortable starting 2021 rookie Talanoa Hufanga in his place. While Hufanga was responsible for some splash plays last season, his coverage skills still leave a lot to be desired.

If the Niners wanted some practical experience to fill the void at strong safety, they could do worse than go after Dallas Cowboys defensive back Jayron Kearse, a full-time starter for his lone year in Dallas who produced 101 tackles, nine of which were for a loss, two interceptions and 10 passes broken up.

OTC projected Kearse’s 2021 value at $5.8 million, and that kind of money might wind up being a good bargain in comparison to what Tartt might seek on the open market.