4 worst mistakes John Lynch, 49ers made during NFL free agency

General Manager John Lynch of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
General Manager John Lynch of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
1 of 4

John Lynch and the 49ers didn’t have a whirlwind of activity in NFL free agency in 2022, but there were some notable gaffes on the table.

In fairness to San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch, none of us will know exactly how the team’s actions during the opening waves of NFL free agency in 2022 will pan out.

What we do know, however, is the fact the Niners weren’t overly aggressive on the market, making only one true big-ticket signing by grabbing former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward to address the roster’s most-pressing need, all the while losing key contributors from the team’s recent success — left guard Laken Tomlinson, nose tackle D.J. Jones and running back Raheem Mostert — to the free agency.

Understandable. Entering the league year at the cusp of the $208.2 million salary cap, it was going to be difficult for Lynch and Co. to either re-sign their top-name players or to go after some others hitting the open market.

Now, according to Over the Cap, San Francisco sits at $1.9 million in available space.

If for no other reason than to be critical, let’s look at some of the potential errors and not-so-great moves (or non-moves) Lynch and the 49ers were responsible for in NFL free agency thus far this offseason.

49ers worst NFL free agency move No. 4: Not signing CB D.J. Reed

The Niners had the potential to get much younger and more dynamic at nickel cornerback, bidding farewell to veteran corner K’Waun Williams but offsetting that by signing one of their former own, D.J. Reed, who excelled his last two years with the Seattle Seahawks after San Francisco waived him early in 2020.

Well, one thing came true, Williams signing with the Denver Broncos for two years up to $5.1 million.

Reed, meanwhile, inked a three-year deal worth up to $33 million with the New York Jets.

Was Reed’s contract a bit of an overspend? Perhaps, but $11 million annually for a quality defensive back who can play multiple spots is still a good going rate, and the 49ers nevertheless have questions in their secondary in the wake of Williams leaving and despite onboarding Ward.

Making a bigger push for Reed would have been smarter even if the Niners couldn’t outbid New York.