Recapping An Eventful Day 1 Of NFL Free Company For The San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers re-signed CB Jason Verrett on Monday. (Photo by Norm Hall / Getty Images)
The San Francisco 49ers weren’t going to be big players during the first wave of the NFL Free Agency. They had to spend just under $ 30 million below the estimated NFL salary cap of $ 182.5 and re-sign a number of core players.
The main focus was on what General Manager John Lynch and Co. would do with their internal freelance agents. Primarily cornerback Jason Verrett and Pro Bowl left tackle against Trent Williams.
Those close to the 49ers also paid close attention to injury-ridden edge rushers Dee Ford’s contract position after he all played a game a season ago. To do this, something had to be found out.
Well, two out of three are not bad on the free agency’s opening day. The third? That is another question.
Meanwhile, the 49ers added a prolific under-the-radar pass rusher who could potentially line up near Nick Bosa. Below I summarize Day 1 of the NFL Free Agency through the lens of the San Francisco 49ers.
San Francisco 49ers Jason Verrett re-sign
This is a move the 49ers had to take on day one of the free agent period. Even after the recent re-signing by Emmanuel Moseley, Verrett became an absolute necessity for San Francisco.
Despite receiving at least one multi-year deal in the market, Verrett decided to return to the 49ers on a one-year deal for $ 5.5 million with Pro Bowl incentives that would bring the deal to $ 6.5 million could. That’s surprising considering how well he played in Northern California last season.
The breakdown of this deal includes a hit of $ 5.31 million against the 2021 NFL salary cap, with Verrett earning a $ 2 million signing bonus. San Francisco’s ability to keep 29-year-old Verrett cheap is no small feat given its cap situation.
However, it does come with some risk. Verrett was a pro bowler with the chargers in 2015 and played a total of six games over the next four seasons. This is not a typo. He has struggled with numerous injuries, forcing the earlier first-round election to sign a $ 1.05 million one-year deal in the final off-season.
Boy, did it work out for both sides? Verrett started all 13 games he appeared in with 60 tackles, seven passes defended and two interceptions. It also scored an incredibly low passerby rating of 77.5 when targeted. To say Verrett played at Pro Bowl level would be an understatement.
Even so, the 49ers are nowhere ready to tackle the cornerback position. You still have upcoming free agents Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon and K’Waun Williams.
San Francisco had shown interest in Michael Davis on Monday before deciding to return to Southern California. Depending on the situation in Williams, the 49ers could seek help both in the slot and outside to move forward in the free agency and / or draft.
San Francisco 49ers Sign Pass Rusher Samson Ebukam
The San Francisco 49ers added a pass rusher in Samson Ebukam during the NFL Free Agency. (Photo by Norm … [+]
Granted, I didn’t know much about Ebukam entering the manipulation phase of the NFL free agents on Monday. He wasn’t one of those pass rushers I expected San Francisco to help behind Nick Bosa.
After some digging (and using social media), it emerged that the 49ers may have found a gem in the Los Angeles Rams fourth round of voting. The product from east Washington had a print rate of 14.7% for the Rams last season, compared to 12.6% for current 49er free agent Kerry Hyder. He also recorded seven quarterback hits and 4.5 sacks in 14 starts.
The $ 12 million two-year deal gives San Francisco a good upward trend over the relatively cheap price point considering what other big-name Edge rushers got at the free agency on Monday.
Is it a world-shaking movement? No. But there is a possibility that Ebukam is showing more consistency as he has not missed a game in four seasons. Recall that last season the 49ers were without Bosa in both games while Dee Ford was successful in one game. Availability and upside are the two big keys here.
The expectation is that Ebukam, in Ford’s role, will keep up with obvious pass rush downs. It should give the team more flexibility on the way to 2021. However, it won’t stop San Francisco from reaching the marginal position in the 2021 NFL draft or doubling down during the rest of the free agency if another negotiating option arises.
Dee Ford receives contract restructuring
Dee Ford’s reorganization has been big for San Francisco from a salary cap perspective. (Photo by Michael … [+]
Ford agreed to a new $ 24 two-year deal with San Francisco on Monday. It is not yet known what value this reorganization will bring to the 49ers in terms of cap relief this season. But the number shouldn’t be less than $ 10 million. Remember, Ford should count north of $ 20 million against the cap in 2021.
Whether this means the former pro bowler will even fit into the 49ers’ plans for the next season remains to be seen.
Ford, one of the largest free-agent busts of the Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch eras in San Francisco, played in just one game last season due to back and neck problems. In 2019, he dumped just 6.5 sacks in 11 games with San Francisco, immediately after signing a five-year deal for $ 85 million with the Kansas City Chiefs.
This is about the guaranteed money Ford still had for its contract prior to Monday’s restructuring and ongoing injury problems. The 49ers would only have saved $ 5 million if they released him immediately and couldn’t wait to cut back after June 1st.
All of this is financial. San Francisco can’t count on Ford to make an impact next season. There is no guarantee that he will play for the team again. That’s why the 49ers added a possible replacement for Samson Ebukam on Monday. We have to wait some time for more clarity in this situation.
The situation in Trent Williams remains unresolved
The 49ers have to sign a deal with Trent Williams. (Photo by Ralph Freso / Getty Images)
This was obviously the biggest story outside of quarterback for San Francisco on the road to freelance agency. It was expected that these two sides might be able to get something done before the legal manipulation deadline. It never came to fruition.
The 49ers are said to be ready to offer $ 20 million annually for a long-term deal. As an eight-time pro bowler, Williams is probably worth more than that in the open market.
In any case, it’s something the 49ers will have to pull off if they have any hope of returning to the Super Bowl competition in 2021. Williams, 32, was absolutely great at replacing a recently retired Joe Staley as the 49ers blindside protector last season. He dropped in in a draft day deal with the Washington Football Team. He remains the best left attacker in the game.
Given that so far we’ve seen San Francisco’s front office structural contracts close this off-season, there is more than enough room for Williams to re-sign. In fact, a four-year $ 88 million contract probably wouldn’t cost much more than $ 8 million against the cap in 2021. San Francisco just has to do this.
New England Patriots Sign Kendrick Bourne
The 49ers had a big free agent departure on Monday at Kendrick Bourne. (Photo by Ralph … [+]
The market would always determine whether Bourne returned to San Francisco free. When the recipient patriots offered him a three-year contract worth $ 22.5 million, it became clear that the former freelance agent would not be returning to the 49ers.
25-year-old Bourne has turned into a handsome quality recipient since San Francisco picked him up from east Washington in 2017. A season ago, he had 49 receptions for 667 yards while completing 66.2% of his goals. That’s a solid production.
The 49ers have other options to replace Bourne. Former San Francisco recipient Emmanuel Sanders was released by the New Orleans Saints earlier this off-season. The Veteran could be an affordable option behind Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel.
Other rumors of free agents in the San Francisco 49ers
Mitchell Trubisky is an option for the 49ers who are moving forward. (Photo by Chris Graythen / Getty Images)
The 49ers were linked with Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in the early stages of the free agency. The interest would be to at least support Jimmy Garoppolo in the next season. It remains to be seen how strong the interest is at this point. I hear it’s mutual.
Other signs are that there is a mutual interest between the free-agent recipient JuJu Smith-Schuster and the 49ers. While this would make sense in the field, San Francisco finances could prevent it. There’s also a good chance Smith-Schuster’s camp is using the 49ers as a lever to get a better deal from a team like the Las Vegas Raiders.
Surprisingly, San Francisco was at the all-pro center Corey Linsley before signing a lucrative free agent deal for the Los Angeles Chargers. The former star of the Green Bay Packers was the top center on the market. With Weston Richburg’s career likely over, this is a huge need for the 49ers. Maybe now they’re kicking Alex Mack’s tires on.