The 49ers can still afford to make some moves in NFL free agency, and these five still-available players should be explored ahead of training camp.
For the most part, the San Francisco 49ers’ attempts to reinforce and beef up their roster ahead of the 2022 season are complete, as the opening waves of NFL free agency and the draft are long in the rearview mirror.
With mandatory minicamp in the books, the Niners have over a month-long break before training camp kicks off at the end of July. And while head coach Kyle Shanahan’s 90-man roster is pretty much complete, there’s inevitably going to be some tweaking here and there.
As well as the search for potential upgrades where possible.
Granted, Over the Cap lists San Francisco as having just $4.696 million in available cap space. And as long as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo remains on the roster, there’s little the 49ers can do by the way of inking any still-available free agents.
However, bringing in a player or two for a workout is never a bad idea, especially if there’s a chance that player can serve to upgrade some of the thinner portions of the roster.
Here are five free agents the Niners should consider for a training camp workout.
49ers free-agent target No. 5: Cornerback Xavier Rhodes
San Francisco arguably turned its 2021 cornerback weakness into a strength this offseason by signing former Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Charvarius Ward in free agency, then grabbing former Toledo nickel back Samuel Womack in Round 5 of the NFL Draft.
Those moves, combined with taking a low-risk re-sign flier on Jason Verrett, who suffered a torn ACL with the 49ers in Week 1 last season, stand to beef up this once-questionable unit.
All that said, there’s still plenty of room for improvement, and all it would take would be one major injury to either Ward or fellow cornerback Emmanuel Mosely to truly test the depth chart.
Former Minnesota Vikings and Indianapolis Colts corner Xavier Rhodes never quite had the illustrious career after being the Vikings’ first-round pick back in 2013, but the soon-to-be 32 year old still had a productive tenure in Indy, never having allowed a passer rating above 100 in those two seasons while also recording three interceptions and 19 pass breakups in that span.
Verrett might not be healthy enough for Week 1, and there are always going to be concerns about his durability, given his lengthy injury history.
Unless the Niners are confident in second-year pro Ambry Thomas assuming a starter’s role, going after someone like Rhodes on the cheap would help mitigate the injury risks.