This is pretty early considering we have the whole 2010 season to be played but next off season we will have some tough decisions to be made. Recently we haven't had a whole lot of guys or big players to worry about signing in the offseason. However, next year we will have a few starters to worry about and might have to let one or two walk. So who do we cut, who do we resign and who should we franchise?
2011 FREE AGENTS
Excluding the lower paid players such as Laboy, Miller, Paymah, Will James, etc.
TE Vernon Davis - Highest Priority: A lock to get resigned so I don't think we will have to worry about him by next offseason.
NT Aubrayo Franklin - High Priority: Only backup is 7th round pick Ricky Jean-Francois who hasn't seen much playing time. Franklin is scary because he could see a big contract and then get lazy and have his numbers drop off. It's happens all the time especially with big guys. I bet we wants big bucks and at 30 years old we might be looking at NT in round 1 of the draft. I wouldn't give him more than a 3 year contract but he will probably want a 5 plus and rumor a while ago was he didn't want to resign with us.
QB Alex Smith - High Priority: Assuming he does as good this year and takes us to the playoffs and we even win a game I say we resign him. He probably won't ask for much more than 5 mil a year which is probably one of the lowest prices for a starter. I guess we already have given him about 40 million so that helps. I could see us using Carr and Nate Davis next year but I think we would prefer to stick with what we have. I don't see us starting over with a rookie and there isn't much out there for veteran FA QBs. Billy Volek (35 years old) or Bruce Gradkowski but I think we go with Carr/Davis if Smith doesn't work out/resign.
FS Dashon Goldson - Fairly High Priority: Goldson apparently wants 7 million a year which is a lot but I don't know of any backup plan. Reggie Smith is often injured and probably won't have much playing time to prove himself. I would try to get him down to 5 million or so a year and resign him long term. He has to work on his coverage skills and not always going for the knockout hit but he put up great numbers. I don't know if we could draft a rookie and have him come in and do what Goldson did. It would take a few years most likely. I would franchise him if we can't work out a deal. I definitely don't let him walk. For those of you that want OJ Atogwe he is pretty much like Goldson but 4 or so years older. Before the draft I would have taken Atogwe to be SS but never wanted him in replacement of Goldson. I bet there is a bidding war with Atogwe... he should pull in A LOT with about 5 teams in on it.
LB Manny Lawson - Fairly High Priority: Say what you want about Manny but he lead us in sacks last year. He may not have lived up to hype but he still contributed to the team and unless Brooks/Briggs steps up we need him. Laboy should be a good backup and we will have to look at resigning/letting him go being that he signed only a 1 year contract. It depends on what Manny does and if Brooks shows he can be an every down LB. I doubt we could draft a rookie and have him come in and replace Lawson.
DL Ray McDonald - Moderate Priority: Has a lot of talent but has health issues. Depending on what he does I would resign him at a fair price... maybe 1.5-2 mil a year for say 3 years. He is a potential starter but it depends on what Balmer does. Either one of these guys will probably split time with the overpaid Sopoaga.
LB Takeo Spikes - Low Priority: Takeo has been awesome for us and has really helped out with developing younger players. If he wants to resign for cheap as a mentor and backup (assuming Bowman takes over at TED next year) I am all for it.
WR Jason Hill - Lower priority: Has produced when he gets time but must be in someone's dog house due to the lack of playing time. One last year to prove himself or he is probably gone. It won't take much to resign him and we could cut Jones and save money by signing Hill if he steps up. Otherwise he could be replaced by Kyle Williams or another rookie/veteran FA.
OL David Baas Lower Priority: - Let's get David work at center because if he will resign at vet minimum or cheap he would be decent OL depth and possibly the future starting center.
DL Demetric Evans - Lowest priority: Hasn't done much. Wouldn't resign him for more than the vet minimum. Probably could be replaced and upgraded by a rookie/another veteran.
I think 1, 2 or all of these guys could be cut/retire saving us money for all those big name free agents we have.
Nate Clements $11,167,000 (is this with bonuses, I seen 6 million???) - Probably one last year to prove himself and might be gone if he doesn't restructure his contract.
Brandon Jones $3,055,000
If someone like Kyle Williams steps up, even Jason Hill (could be resigned for less than Jones is making) I could see Jones being cut after this year. We have Crabtree, Morgan, Ginn Jr, Kyle Williams for 2011... Hill and Jones could be gone ore replaced with a cheaper veteran or rookie.
Michael Lewis $5,795,000
Probably will retire or be cut unless he restructures. I could see Mays taking over full time this season and hopefully for good by next season.
WHAT I WOULD DO:
Assuming everyone plays similar to this year....
*Lawson goes unless he lowers his price
*Alex resigns to say 2-3 years at 5 mil a year
*Franklin is offered say a 3 year - 15-20 million otherwise is told to leave
*Hill vs Jones-best WR stays other is cut/not resigned or draft replacements
*Goldson is tagged if he doesn't lower his price
*Possibly cut Clements/Lewis (retirement?) unless he restructures
*Possibly resign Spikes at vet minimum as mentor
*Let Demetric Evans walk
*Resign Baas at Vet minimum for depth/possible future center
A lot will depend on who we resign, cut, franchise but as of now I would go:
1st - NT/CB - Replacing possibly Franklin/Clements
2nd -NT/CB - Replacing possibly Franklin/Clements
3rd - OLB (Pass Rush)
4th - 3-4 DE/WR
5th - 3-4 DE/WR
6th - OL Depth (Center?)
7th - OL Depth