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Finances, Free Agency and the Future: The Reasons behind the 49ers draft strategy of BPA

Finances, Free Agency and the Future are the main reasons the 49ers drafted the way they did with Best Player Available, regardless of position. The 49ers had a GREAT draft because it addressed Future free agency and addressed these needs. The following analysis is for all the whiners who forget that there is a salary cap. The salary cap is a limiting factor, but the 49ers have had the foresight to address this issue before it becomes a problem and incredibly have set themselves up for continued success by shrewd draft day moves and understanding of the impact of signing and losing free agents beyond the playing field i.e. compensatory picks. Their ability to keep their finances low, and draft replacements right before they are needed (i.e. player free agency) has set them up for continued success in the future.

Financially, the 49ers are going to have a HUGE contract to address, Colin Kaepernick's. Anywhere from $15-$20 million/year. That being said, the other high priced free agents will more than likely have to be let go next year are Michael Crabtree and Mike Iupati. Thus the draft moves this year addressed those two major positions. I am including the trade of WR Stevie Johnson as part of that draft day moves. While a draft pick is a question mark in regards to actual NFL production Stevie Johnson is a known and proven commodity and will make less on average the next three years than what Michael Crabtree is making right now, $5.3 million and who knows how much MORE he's going to ask as a free agent, guessing near the $9 million/year mark. 3rd round pick OG Brandon Thomas is also a strong candidate to replace Mike Iupati next year however he will not occupy a roster spot this year yet will be afforded the opportunity to learn the playbook and style of play of his fellow teammates and more importantly, fellow linemen.

The 49ers have key free agents that have Free Agency value and could be signed by other teams next year. Thus the 49ers have been proactive in addressing their future free agency needs, and addressed them in the draft. Credit to the 49ers that they were able to address future needs right now in the present. The silver lining to losing a player in free agency is the compensatory pick. How much they contributed to your team, will determine the compensation. I anticipate the 49ers having a BUNCH of compensatory picks next year. Due to paying Kaepernick and the plethora of rookies I anticipate will sign this year.

2015 FREE AGENTS

Frank Gore- 2nd Carlos Hyde
Michael Crabtree - 4th Bruce Ellington
Mike Iupati- C/G: 3rd Marcus Martin
Glenn Dorsey- 7th/PSquad Kaleb Ramsey
Tony Jerod-Eddie- 7th PSquad Kaleb Ramsey
Dan Skuta- 5th/Aaron Lynch
Chris Culliver- 4th Donatae Johnson
CJ Spillman- PSquad/IR Acker
Kendall Hunter- Jewel Hampton
Michael Wilhoite- Chris Borland

These free agents, already have their spot drafted during the draft and are currently on IR/PUP list and do not occupy a roster spot
Adam Snyder......OG: Brandon Thomas
Eric Wright......... CB: Keaser
Garrett Celek...... H-back: Trey Millard
Blaine Gabbert is the only position that they did not draft, but they traded for him, and want to keep him around.


Once again credit to Harbaalke and the 49ers front office and always keeping their eye on the Finances, Free Agency and the Future and sticking to their guns and sticking to BPA and fit for the future.
nice post, well said.

Also want to mention that the niners infused alot of speed during this draft. Something we sorely need imo. Guys like Ward, Ellington, Dontae Johnson, Millard and particularly CB Reaser, cousin of the late Sean Taylor.
[ Edited by kronik on May 10, 2014 at 7:44 PM ]
Writing is on the wall for Iupati with the Martin and Thomas picks, he's as good as gone. Getting Stevie Johnson and drafting Ellington protects us if Crabs does walk but I still think we try hard to keep him. Boldin is only going to be around 2 more years, I like both Johnson and Ellington but I don't think either are #1 WRs, we will try hard to keep Crabs and I think ultimately, we end up extending him and Kaep this off season and Aldon either after this season or next.
Originally posted by kronik:
nice post, well said.

Also want to mention that the niners infused alot of speed during this draft. Something we sorely need imo. Guys like Ward, Ellington, Dontae Johnson, Millard and particularly CB Reaser, cousin of the late Sean Taylor.

Speed is great, but playmaking ability and skills are a necessity. Thus a player needs to have functional speed not just track speed.


I only say this because during free agency you had a 26 year olds with 4.3 speed: Darius Heyward Bey and Jacboy Ford looking for jobs.

That being said I hope Ward, Ellington, Johnson, Acker, Millard and Reaser have that functional speed.
[ Edited by Garlicboy on May 10, 2014 at 8:01 PM ]
Good post. People forget (or never consider) the points you made. I know the general consensus for most fans was for the team to get a highly touted WR or CB or both. The Niners simply didn't see the value in taking one of those guys high and didn't think they were going to A) supplant a current starter on the team or B) or be worth their draft position for what they would actually bring to the team.

Based on this draft, including the Johnson trade, and taking into account your points above, here are the areas on this team that are better to significantly better than they were on Tuesday:

-Secondary (based on Ward alone and what he brings in range)
-O Line (significantly better)
-WRs (Johnson and Ellington make this a much better unit)
-RBs (Hyde will rotate now and be a major contributor with Lattimore in the future)
-Special Teams (most of these guys will help immensely in this area)
-ILBs (Borland was a top rated ILB and helps with depth and ST)

All in all, with the future in mind, this team is better both short and long term after this draft.
Originally posted by matt49er:
Writing is on the wall for Iupati with the Martin and Thomas picks, he's as good as gone. Getting Stevie Johnson and drafting Ellington protects us if Crabs does walk but I still think we try hard to keep him. Boldin is only going to be around 2 more years, I like both Johnson and Ellington but I don't think either are #1 WRs, we will try hard to keep Crabs and I think ultimately, we end up extending him and Kaep this off season and Aldon either after this season or next.

Honestly I hope Crabtree leaves. I think Richard Sherman psyched him out with all the trash talk and "MEDICORE" talk.

Boldin is "the man" at WR on this team. Seahawk DB's mess with Crabtree, but know better than to mess with Anquan Boldin cause he'll -itch slap you.

I feel as though the 49ers can try and move up next year and get that big speed outside receiver. Only speedster's worthy of being drafted in the 1st were Sammy Watkins and Beckham and they went early.

I think next year's class may have some speedsters that the 49ers can pick up in the late first. Or they can go trade route- Josh Gordon?

We'll see what happens.
[ Edited by Garlicboy on May 10, 2014 at 8:01 PM ]
Originally posted by VANiner:
Good post. People forget (or never consider) the points you made. I know the general consensus for most fans was for the team to get a highly touted WR or CB or both. The Niners simply didn't see the value in taking one of those guys high and didn't think they were going to A) supplant a current starter on the team or B) or be worth their draft position for what they would actually bring to the team.

Based on this draft, including the Johnson trade, and taking into account your points above, here are the areas on this team that are better to significantly better than they were on Tuesday:

-Secondary (based on Ward alone and what he brings in range)
-O Line (significantly better)
-WRs (Johnson and Ellington make this a much better unit)
-RBs (Hyde will rotate now and be a major contributor with Lattimore in the future)
-Special Teams (most of these guys will help immensely in this area)
-ILBs (Borland was a top rated ILB and helps with depth and ST)

All in all, with the future in mind, this team is better both short and long term after this draft.

YES! Nice summation of the improvements. Team got better (based on draftnik rankings of Hyde, Martin, Ward, etc.) and younger.

We have SOOO many key free agents leaving next year and we just CAN'T AFFORD to resign a lot of them, so these rookies and IR players (Brandon Thomas, Reaser and Millard) will be key for next 3-4 years.
Originally posted by Garlicboy:
Honestly I hope Crabtree leaves. I think Richard Sherman psyched him out with all the trash talk. '

Boldin is "the man" at WR at this. Seahawk DB's mess with Crabtree, but know better than to mess with Anquan Boldin cause he'll -itch slap you.

I feel as though the 49ers can try and move up next year and get that big speed outside receiver. Only speedster's worthy of being drafted in the 1st were Sammy Watkins and Beckham and they went early.

I think next year's class may have some speedsters that the 49ers can pick up in the late first. We'll see what happens.

The only part of the offense that would be "psyched" out is Kaepernick. He's literally thrown like 8-10 INTs over the last 2 seasons against that secondary and he looks like a ghost every time he plays them.
I think you have to consider 1 the cap is going to go up every year for the next couple of years and 2 we're going to be offloading some big contracts/not extending some big contracts over the next two years. I love the way we essentially drafted starters but I don't think as many core/rotation players are going to slip through the cracks if we resign Crab, Kaep, and Aldon.
[ Edited by eonblue on May 10, 2014 at 8:04 PM ]
Originally posted by eonblue:
The only part of the offense that would be "psyched" out is Kaepernick. He's literally thrown like 8-10 INTs over the last 2 seasons against that secondary and he looks like a ghost every time he plays them.

That secondary is pretty frickin. I don't think he's psyched out, but hard to trust Crabtree after you give him a shot 2x's in the cluth.

I'm ready to take my chances w/Stevie Johnson. I like his swagger and he has the game to back it up.

3- 1,000 yard receiving seasons w/JP Losman and Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing to you, says a lot about this guys game.
Originally posted by Garlicboy:
That secondary is pretty frickin. I don't think he's psyched out, but hard to trust Crabtree after you give him a shot 2x's in the cluth.

I'm ready to take my chances w/Stevie Johnson. I like his swagger and he has the game to back it up.

3- 1,000 yard receiving seasons w/JP Losman and Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing to you, says a lot about this guys game.

Sorry we don't agree. Kaep was ghost white after he threw that last int in the NGCCG. Don't know what game you were watching but Crab had nothing to do with Kaep blowing HIS moment in the clutch. Will just have to wait and see. If Crab has a big season he deserves to get paid.
Originally posted by eonblue:
I think you have to consider 1 the cap is going to go up every year for the next couple of years and 2 we're going to be offloading some big contracts/not extending some big contracts over the next two years. I love the way we essentially drafted starters but I don't think as many core/rotation players are going to slip through the cracks if we resign Crab, Kaep, and Aldon.

The cap does not go up $20 million each year and that is just the pay increase to Colin Kaepernick.

Michael Crabtree, Iupati, Aldon Smith and Chris Culliver are all guys that need to get paid next year. Gore is the major contract gone next year, but the rest of the Free Agents we will have will either get pay increases from us or other teams in the league.

I think there will be more consistency w/salaries once we pay Kaepernick, but there are only a few $20 million/year players in the league, and they are all QB's. The first couple years will be an adjustment, but it seems as though the 49ers are making that transition as seamless and pain free as possible through shrewd drafting and personnel moves.
[ Edited by Garlicboy on May 10, 2014 at 8:20 PM ]
Originally posted by eonblue:
Sorry we don't agree. Kaep was ghost white after he threw that last int in the NGCCG. Don't know what game you were watching but Crab had nothing to do with Kaep blowing HIS moment in the clutch. Will just have to wait and see. If Crab has a big season he deserves to get paid.

Well I'll put money on it that the 49ers are not going to be the team to pay Michael Crabtree next year.
  • Phil
  • Member
  • Posts: 1,068
Originally posted by Garlicboy:
Finances, Free Agency and the Future are the main reasons the 49ers drafted the way they did with Best Player Available, regardless of position. The 49ers had a GREAT draft because it addressed Future free agency and addressed these needs. The following analysis is for all the whiners who forget that there is a salary cap. The salary cap is a limiting factor, but the 49ers have had the foresight to address this issue before it becomes a problem and incredibly have set themselves up for continued success by shrewd draft day moves and understanding of the impact of signing and losing free agents beyond the playing field i.e. compensatory picks. Their ability to keep their finances low, and draft replacements right before they are needed (i.e. player free agency) has set them up for continued success in the future.

Financially, the 49ers are going to have a HUGE contract to address, Colin Kaepernick's. Anywhere from $15-$20 million/year. That being said, the other high priced free agents will more than likely have to be let go next year are Michael Crabtree and Mike Iupati. Thus the draft moves this year addressed those two major positions. I am including the trade of WR Stevie Johnson as part of that draft day moves. While a draft pick is a question mark in regards to actual NFL production Stevie Johnson is a known and proven commodity and will make less on average the next three years than what Michael Crabtree is making right now, $5.3 million and who knows how much MORE he's going to ask as a free agent, guessing near the $9 million/year mark. 3rd round pick OG Brandon Thomas is also a strong candidate to replace Mike Iupati next year however he will not occupy a roster spot this year yet will be afforded the opportunity to learn the playbook and style of play of his fellow teammates and more importantly, fellow linemen.

My entire point. Crabtree will likely be gone and Boldin will be gone soon and we had a DEEP wide receiver draft where we could have picked up first round talent in the second round. There wont be many, if any, viable WR's in next years draft. The only way this draft gets a B+ from me is if we resign Crabtree, which isn't likely. THIS was the year to get Crabtree and Boldins replacements. The Johnson pick up was great, one down, we're going to have a great WR core this year. After this season it will be Boldin's 13'th year in the NFL. He's definitely gone after 2015 and his play will likely suffer in the 2015 season. The 2015 draft will be extremely lacking in WR talent. So, what do we do? Plan on getting extremely lucky as we did in picking up Boldin and Johnson? It would have been wiser to get a WR in this years draft in the second round, wiser and cheaper (speaking of salary cap).

And then we have the issue of our outside corner backs.....lets go back to this post after we play the season. I hope I'm wrong but we're probably going to be wishing we had better players on the outside. Spending a bunch of late round picks on outside corner backs was a waste of picks.
[ Edited by Phil on May 10, 2014 at 8:20 PM ]
We can see the 49ers thinking of the future in many of their moves. Not sure I follow you with the Crabtree logic.

Stevie Johnson is a fine player but he is no Crabtree. Neither is Ellington who is a nice prospect in the slot. Also , Johnson is in the 3rd year of a #36 million dollar contract so how cheap is he? The cap hit on Johnson is aprox $4million for 2014 and $6Million for 2015 and 2016. I would rather extend Crabtree now for $8 - $9 million than have Johnson at $6 million.

If it is about thinking ahead then why didn't we draft Latimer at #56 or Moncreif at #77 instead of Borland and have a very cap friendly rookie WR and potential replacement for Crabtree next season or Boldin in 2 years?