3 reasons why 49ers haven’t been hyper-aggressive in NFL free agency

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Robert Saleh, New York Jets
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

Reason No. 3: 49ers understand winning free agency isn’t winning a Super Bowl

Lock this into your head: Winning the offseason is entirely different than winning during the regular season, especially making it to the Super Bowl.

Look no further than the Cleveland Browns a year ago, who arguably had the best offseason out of all 32 teams, only to flounder once the regular season commenced and failed to make the playoffs.

Sure, teams want to win in NFL free agency, too. But there aren’t awards given out to the teams who sign the biggest and best players, have the most cap space or spend the most on the market.

Speaking of those teams with plenty of cap room and who are actively spending a lot to open up 2022, let’s look at the top five ahead of the league new year with numbers courtesy of Over the Cap:

  1. Indianapolis Colts: $62,463,446
  2. New York Jets: $44,899,823
  3. Seattle Seahawks: $42,412,502
  4. Chicago Bears: $34,534,133
  5. Carolina Panthers: $31,346,683

None of those teams made the postseason a year ago, and none have elite-level quarterbacks on second-term deals beyond rookie contracts either.

So, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer’s statement about shock signings on day one of NFL free agency has some serious truth:

San Francisco understands this.

The 49ers have paid their own top-tier players, including lofty contracts for stars like tight end George Kittle, left tackle Trent Williams and linebacker Fred Warner. That’s why they entered the final days before the league new year began over the cap.

But on the cusp of making the Super Bowl.

It made sense when John Lynch was hyper-aggressive in NFL free agency back in 2017 when the Niners were coming off a two-win season the year prior and were turning over approximately 70 percent of the roster.

They aren’t doing so now, as their roster only needs partial help.