Reason No. 2: 49ers were likely to be outbid by plenty of other teams anyway
Money is unquestionably the No. 1 motivator for nearly all free agents, although as mentioned, there are plenty of other X-factors at play. Scheme, coaches, an ability to compete for a Super Bowl… all of those can play roles in helping a player finalize a decision.
Nevertheless, the ability to dish out massive contracts is going to be a challenge for any team up against the salary cap, which is where San Francisco is right now.
Sure, parting ways with Jimmy Garoppolo frees up $25.5 million, which could then be turned into landing a top-end free agent or two. But going back to the previous slide, the 49ers also have to think about re-signing some of their own star players still on rookie contracts, namely wide receiver Deebo Samuel and EDGE Nick Bosa.
This probably helps explain why the Niners already lost two of their biggest-name free agents to deals elsewhere this offseason, particularly nose tackle D.J. Jones and Pro Bowl left guard Laken Tomlinson:
- D.J. Jones deal with Denver Broncos: Three years, $30 million
- Laken Tomlinson deal with New York Jets: Three years, $41.2 million
San Francisco would have loved to keep both players, but it simply wasn’t in a position to re-sign either at those rates. Simply put, both the Broncos and Jets were willing to outbid whatever amount the 49ers would have been able to offer.
Same goes with many of those other high-profile free agents out there, too.