4 free-agent wide receivers 49ers can target not named Calvin Ridley

Calvin Ridley #18 of the Atlanta Falcons (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Calvin Ridley #18 of the Atlanta Falcons (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers free-agent WR target No. 1: Christian Kirk, Cardinals

If San Francisco wants to splurge, at least to a modest extent, it could easily look to an NFC West rival to boost up the receiving depth chart.

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk enjoyed a career-best season in 2021, finishing the year with 982 receiving yards on 77 receptions with five touchdowns, picking up a lot of the slack in the wake of All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins missing much of the year with an injury.

Kirk, the former second-round pick of the Cardinals in the 2018 NFL Draft, sure picked a good time to have his best season, and that’ll surely drive up his asking price heading into 2022.

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That might prevent the 49ers from making Kirk a high-priority target, of course. But if the market is relatively slowish, it wouldn’t be totally shocking to see him switch sides within the division.

Sure, Kirk might have a tough time replicating the success he had with Arizona a year ago if he’s forced to play behind Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. But the 5-foot-11, 200-pound receiver has speed to burn and can stretch the field, adding an element to the Niners offense that isn’t quite there right now.

NFL free agency will officially begin with the league’s new year starting on March 16.

Next. 49ers' 15 best free-agent acquisitions of all time. dark