I didn't see a thread already established on this...I just read it (link: http://edraft.com/nfl/news/are-the-san-francisco-49ers-full-of-themselves/; pasted below). What are your thoughts on this - is this how the 49ers deal with most Free Agents? You would think there has to be some give and take, especially with some quality Free Agents out there. Also, I don't know much about the author, Vincent Frank, other than he's in the greater Bay Area and writes about the Niners a lot.
The San Francisco 49ers absolutely shocked the football world a week ago when they acquired Anquan Boldin from the Baltimore Ravens for a sixth-round pick. For many, this deal seemed to indicate that San Francisco was starting to take on the mentality of it's AFC counterpart; the New England Patriots.
I will focus on that later.
Since, San Francisco has brought in John Abraham, Nnamdi Asomugha, Charles Woodson and Louis Delmas, among others, for visits. The only "big-name" player to sign is Glenn Dorsey, who inked a deal just a couple hours after he arrived at their facility in Santa Clara.
Meanwhile, some valuable members of the 49ers' NFC Championship winning club from a season ago have departed for richer addresses. Alex Smith was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in a deal that still seems to favor San Francisco, Dashon Goldson received $40 million from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while Ricky Jean-Francois inked a four year, $22 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts.
These free-agent departures on a singular leval aren't too big, but added together means that San Francisco has some work to do when it comes to finding replacements.
I have learned through sources, which have been corroborated since, that San Francisco utilizes a different approach to free agency. They set a value to specific players and stick with it. This means that negotiations rarely ever take place at 4949 Centennial BLVD in Santa Clara. The free-agent "prospect" understands exactly where San Francisco values him and that's about it. There isn't a give/take from each side. And San Francisco almost never improves the quality of it's offer.
Obviously, this could rub some the wrong way (see: John Abraham), but it is a model that San Francisco has used since Trent Baalke took over as general manager in January of 2011. Since, the 49ers are 24-7-1 in the regular season, with two trips to the NFC Championship Game and a Super Bowl appearance. In fact, they have played as many postseason games in the last two years (five) than the previous 13 seasons combined.
Something is working.
In addition, as the defending conference champions; San Francisco doesn't need to go out there and overpay for specific players. It can utilize the 14 picks it has in the draft to upgrade at areas of need.
Still, I am not entirely too sure that this is the right model to use. At least, give the feeling that the you need the free agent as much as he needs you. Instead, it appears that San Francisco is going about it by indicating that it really doesn't need the player to join the team. As in any profession, this doesn't make a prospective employee feel too good about signing on the dotted line.
Can San Francisco win the Super Bowl without any of the free agents it has "targeted?" Yes, of course if can. Would it be better off with Asomugha and Woodson on the roster? Probably.
That isn't the point.
You don't want to get a reputation in this as a team unwilling to even bargain with free agents. That's not the way to endure yourself to new players looking to join a winning team. That's not the way to actually build a team by supplementing in free agency.
Of course, San Francisco might feel that it doesn't even need free agents; that it can build a championship-caliber team through the draft.
An overtime loss to the New York Giants and a Super Bowl loss to the Baltimore Ravens in consecutive seasons might have given Baalke and Co. a false sense that they're going to remain on top for the forseeable future.
The issue with this is that Seattle has improved a great deal, Green Bay isn't going away and the Falcons just acquired Steven Jackson. The gap, however small it might have previously been, has narrowed a great deal in the NFC.
I guess the next move is on Baalke in the "NFC Arms Race." Is San Francisco ready to make it?
What needs to be mentioned is that San Francisco has taken on the philosophy of the Patriots. It's the idea that we are going to buiild through the draft with multiple picks and a great deal of weapons come April. If all doesn't work out like we plan, the NFL offseason is far from over.
As it is; San Francisco has 14 picks in April's draft, a few different free agents possibly coming to town and five more months of the offseason to get minor holes fixed.
I wouldn't bank against them.