5 former 49ers free agents who could be brought back in 2023
By Peter Panacy
The 49ers don’t have a lot of wiggle room in NFL free agency in 2023, but former Niners players may take a discount to return to the Bay Area.
The San Francisco 49ers can’t afford to get into too many bidding wars in NFL free agency this offseason.
At least not with just over $8 million in salary-cap space, according to Over the Cap.
However, the Niners can promise a stacked roster on both sides of the ball that’ll likely wind up pushing head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad into legitimate Super Bowl contention once more.
So, for players wanting to win the Lombardi Trophy, signing up with San Francisco isn’t a bad way to go.
On top of that, there could be some former 49ers players who are now hitting the free-agent market this offseason. While their original tenures with the Niners may not have ended with a championship, perhaps a second go-around would be worthwhile.
Especially if they’d seek out a Super Bowl while passing up on a massive contract they could potentially get elsewhere.
Here are five former San Francisco players who may opt to return to the 49ers in NFL free agency this offseason.
Former 49ers free-agent No. 5: EDGE Arden Key
EDGE Arden Key was shaping up to be a massive bust with the Las Vegas Raiders before turning his career around in 2021 during his one and only year with the Niners.
That translated into a rewarding one-year, $4 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2022, and Key managed to put forth 4.5 sacks after recording a career-best 6.5 sacks with San Francisco the year before.
The 49ers may bid farewell to their current No. 2 pass-rusher, Samson Ebukam, this offseason. That’ll likely free up some money to go after some supplementary pass-rushing help, and Key fits squarely into that category.
He already performed well enough under the tutelage of Niners defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, and another shot could prove valuable again.