Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports



For years, the San Francisco 49ers have had a reputation for being frugal when it came to free agent spending. In fact, following the team during free agency in the past could be described as downright boring. It wasn't that the 49ers weren't going after top-tier players in free agency, they weren't going after anyone. Instead, like vultures, they would let the first few days of free agency craziness die down and then go after whatever was left over. The result ended up being $105 million in cap space (per the NFLPA) leading into the start of the new 2017 NFL league year on Thursday but very little actual talent on the roster.

Things have officially changed under general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers were very active leading into free agency and once the Thursday start date passed. While some may feel that the team overpaid for some free agent acquisitions, they have made a statement to the NFL that the 49ers are, once again, an organization that is willing to spend money in free agency.

Of course, we haven't seen the details of each of the contracts yet, so we don't know how much of the reported money is guaranteed. Executive Vice President of Football Operations Paraag Marathe is in charge of the cap and has done a good job of managing it for years. There is no doubt that the contracts given over the past two days are team-friendly and would not cripple the 49ers down the road.

Gregg Rosenthal of "Around the NFL" and NFL Media jumped on KNBR Friday morning to talk about the 49ers' different attitude this year when it comes to free agency. "I'll say that John Lynch has not been afraid to spend money," Rosenthal said. "I mean, a lot of these guys are not 'top of the market' guys but a guy like Malcolm Smith, for instance, got 'top of the market' money. Kyle Juszczyk might get paid more than any tailback gets paid. I mean, he's making almost double what any other fullback (is making).

"I think agents were happy to see the 49ers and John Lynch be so aggressive for some guys that were really kind of mid-tier free agents but treated like they were really first day free agents."

Rosenthal was asked about the signing of Pierre Garçon. "He's known as a leader, a great guy, a worker," he said. "He knows Kyle Shanahan's system. When you're just starting out with a team, I think that's so important. Again, I think they paid a premium to get him – you know, a 30-year-old receiver – but speed's never been his game. Toughness, smarts, hands – that's all his game.

"At this point, you're seeing guys like Kenny Britt – other kind of borderline number two receivers – get $8-9 million. Garçon gets a couple more, gets more money upfront. The 49ers have so much cap space, they almost need to spend it. I look at it as a two-year deal. He's not a number one receiver at this point in his career. He only topped 800 yards in two of the last four years but he's a solid number two receiver and you've got to start somewhere and he's definitely an NFL starter."

You can listen to the entire interview on KNBR.