49ers were wise to steer clear of these free agents

Keeping these free-agent names out of the locker room was smart for the 49ers this offseason.

Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins
Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

While there are many names out there in free agency, the San Francisco 49ers have made some sound decisions on who they have signed as well as who they have not. The Niners avoided re-signing and overspending on some of their own former players allowing them to walk.

Defensive end Chase Young signed a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints for $13 million. San Francisco also let defensive tackle Arik Armstead leave for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are paying him a contract for three years and $51 million.

The 49ers also lost their backup quarterback, Sam Darnold, to free agency. He signed a one-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings worth $10 million to replace Kirk Cousins, who is now off to the Atlanta Falcons.

All three -- Young, Armstead and Darnold -- were out of the price range to retain for the NFC champions. The Niners did not have an excess of extra funds to spend for 2024, but they made their money matter where they spent it.

Jimmy Garoppolo, also a longtime former 49er, became available for anyone to sign once the Las Vegas Raiders released the quarterback. Garoppolo has recorded a bigger number in his bank account than heproduced on the field, and the Niners were wise not to bring back Garoppolo as the Los Angeles Rams gained his services to back up Matthew Stafford within the NFC West.

Outside of San Francisco, the 49ers were wise to stay away from signing Christian Wilkins, the defensive tackle who left the Miami Dolphins for Las Vegas on a three-year, $15 million offer. The Raiders were willing to spend that much money on a lineman while other holes exist for a team that finished with another losing record a season ago.

In the NFC, the Carolina Panthers committed to two guards, Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis, for a combined amount of $153 million over the course of four to five years. While it never hurts to beef up the offensive line, the Niners did not have those kinds of figures to throw out to players this offseason.

Defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins was also an appealing talent in free agency. The Cincinnati Bengals instead signed him to a more expensive two-year deal instead of retaining DJ Reader, who is also 29 years old.

While their biggest signings have only been edge Leonard Floyd (two years, $20 million) and defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos (two years, $18 million), the 49ers did a good job of not overspending and taking major gambles in free agency like other teams.

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