Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN names two 49ers as ‘sneaky-good’ free agents, predicts landing spots for Deshaun Watson

Feb 17, 2021 at 6:45 AM--

ESPN's NFL experts answered some offseason-related questions, including identifying some "sneaky-good" free agents and predicting a destination for disgruntled Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Two San Francisco 49ers impending free agents were labeled as "sneaky-good" players that NFL teams should covet once the bidding wars kick off next month. That is assuming neither is re-signed before then.

Matt Bowen named defensive end Kerry Hyder, who racked up a career-high sack total last season, his first with San Francisco.

"Hyder has traits as an edge rusher off twists and stunts with the ability to win isolated one-on-one matchups," wrote Bowen. "The 49ers defensive end logged 8.5 sacks last season. I would look to add Hyder -- who will turn 30 years old this offseason -- on a three-year deal, with the option to release him or add more years going into the final year of the contract."

Field Yates also identified a player on the Niners defense — cornerback K'Waun Williams.

"Fans of the 49ers will tell you all about Williams, who had yet another rock-solid season for San Francisco manning the slot in 2020, though he missed eight games with a knee injury," wrote Yates. "Thinking out loud, the Jets sure seem like a team that could use some reinforcements at the cornerback position -- and they just so happened to have hired former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh as their new head coach."

San Francisco has to be motivated to being back both Hyder and Williams. However, should new deals not be struck, each is likely to garner interest on the open market.

As for Watson, two ESPN writers selected the 49ers as a destination for the young star quarterback, who wants out of Houston. They are Kevin Seifert and Jason Reid.

"Because of the no-trade clause in his contract, Watson has significant leverage over where he goes," wrote Seifert. "And there are plenty of reasons to think the 49ers, and coach Kyle Shanahan in particular, would be high on his list. I can't even imagine the creative ways Watson could excel in the 49ers' offense. It's in no way controversial to think the 49ers would do everything they could to make that happen, even if it means giving up on Jimmy Garoppolo."

Last week, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that the 49ers are among the teams that Watson is "intrigued by." The no-trade clause also influenced Reid's choice of San Francisco as a potential destination.

"I know that the Panthers seem like a logical landing spot because of the package they could offer," explained Reid. "But Watson has a no-trade clause. If Shanahan and Watson teamed up, the offensive artistry would be something to watch."

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