49ers free-agent No. 3: EDGE Jordan Willis
Even though Arden Key is one player San Francisco could now look to bring back on the cheap, it’s important to note his primary success last season came when the 49ers moved him inside the defensive formation.
Either way, when a team thinks it has enough edge rushers, it’s always a good idea to add another.
EDGE Jordan Willis is purely an outside pass-rusher, a speed option whose 6-foot-4, 270-pound frame is tailor-made for getting around offensive tackles while having enough strength to overpower weaker ones. And like Key, Willis also found success under Kris Kocurek, recording 2.5 sacks over seven games played with the Niners in 2020 before logging a career-best three sacks in 10 regular-season games last season, all in a situational role.
Again, San Francisco can’t afford to have Nick Bosa shoulder the pass-rushing load entirely in 2022, and Dee Ford’s injuries prompt the need to reinforce this group as much as possible.
Willis, like Key, might have looked to capitalize on his recent success with the 49ers to land a more substantial contract elsewhere.
With nothing materializing, though, it might be smart business for the Niners to retain him on the cheap.