Sometimes, it’s the deals you don’t sign, and the 49ers should feel pretty happy they didn’t end up luring in these four players in NFL free agency.
The opening day of NFL free agency is rarely a good time to make deals. In more cases than not, those five-year blockbuster contracts wind up turning into cap casualties after three seasons.
And when teams like the San Francisco 49ers are in play, particularly when cap space (or lack thereof) is a challenge, going after those splash deals will carry an exceptional amount of risk.
Granted, the Niners had one splash move on the opening day of 2022 free agency, signing former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward to a lucrative deal. But aside from that, general manager John Lynch and Co. have been relatively quiet, limiting their acquisitions almost exclusively to role players.
With only a week of NFL free agency almost complete, there are still plenty of big-contract moves that could be made.
However, San Francisco can at least feel good it didn’t end up signing these four free agents this offseason.
No. 4 free agent 49ers are happy they didn’t sign: EDGE Chandler Jones
Yes, the 49ers would have been more than happy to sign veteran edge rusher Chandler Jones to pair with EDGE Nick Bosa in 2022, both bolstering the pass rush and taking away a prime impact player from a division rival, the Arizona Cardinals.
Chandler was reportedly interested in the Niners, too, except he ultimately decided to take big money from the Las Vegas Raiders instead.
As far as that three-year deal is concerned? It’s worth up to $52.5 million with an annual average value of $17.5 million, according to Over the Cap.
Granted, that’s the market for upper-echelon pass-rushers, and Jones deserves every penny. If San Francisco had signed Jones for that same contract, or exceeded it to beat what the Raiders offered, it would have drastically inhibited the ability to extend the younger Bosa, who is entering year four of his cheap rookie contract.
Bosa is expected to command north of $20 million annually when his contract comes. And while having both Bosa and Jones would have been great in 2022, it ultimately would have been unsustainable for too long beyond that.