Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Ranking the 49ers’ top 5 scheduled free agents in 2022

Jul 19, 2021 at 1:45 PM--

Even though we are still in the midst of the 2021 offseason, it is never too early to look forward to the 2022 offseason.

The 49ers were able to bring back several key players this offseason on one-year deals, but that means those players will once again be impending free agents.

With that said, let's rank the top five 49er free agents in 2022 in terms of value.

Honorable Mentions

DT D.J. Jones

Jones slots in as a honorable mention on this free agent list after returning to the 49ers on a one-year deal this offseason.

Jones, a sixth-round pick in 2017, started every game he played last season, racking up 20 tackles, including seven tackles for loss, and three sacks.

He makes this list as an honorable mention, because of his consistency as a rotational piece, and because of the lack of depth at the interior line position behind Javon Kinlaw, making him more valuable to the team.

However, Jones isn't as important as the rest of the players on this list to the team's success, which is why he doesn't crack the top five.

RB Jeff Wilson Jr.

Wilson comes in as my second and final honorable mention as he also returned to the 49ers on a one-year deal this offseason.

With the multitude of injuries to the running back group last year, be it Raheem Mostert or Tevin Coleman, Wilson got a team-high 126 carries, accumulating 600 yards over the season.

Still, Wilson faced calf and ankle injuries, limiting him to 12 games last season, and he suffered a meniscus tear during a workout this offseason. In addition, running back is one of the more loaded position groups on the 49ers roster, limiting Wilson's value on the team.

Wilson's productivity should not be undermined however, as he found the endzone seven times and rushed for 4.8 yards per carry last season. But with him being the second fiddle to Raheem Mostert, he only makes the honorable mentions on this list.

Now, let's get to the top five 49er free agents in 2022.

The Top 5

5. S Jaquiski Tartt

Safety Jaquiski Tartt was another one-year deal that the 49ers brought back this offseason and could prove to be a valuable mentor with rookie Talanoa Hufanga in his adjustment to the NFL.

Tartt has struggled to remain healthy in recent years, playing a total of only 36 games over the past four seasons.

Still, Tartt has been a valuable contributor when healthy in a depleted secondary, and his presence certainly improves the quality of the team.

There was a significant drop-off between Tartt and the backup safeties last season, but with Hufanga being the next in line, Tartt's value diminishes slightly, putting him at five on this list.

4. CB K'Waun Williams

K'Waun Williams was another member of the long list of re-signees to one-year deals, as he passed on interest from teams like the Jets and Chiefs to come back and play for San Francisco.

Williams, who turned 30 last week, has been one of the best slot corners in the league for the past few seasons, but struggled to stay healthy last year, playing in only eight games.

Still, health hasn't been a concern for the entirety of his career, as he played in at least 13 games each season prior to 2020.

In the 2021 draft, the 49ers did select cornerback Deommodore Lenoir out of Oregon in the fifth round and his frame makes him a suitable replacement at nickelback in the future, keeping Williams at four on this list.

3. Raheem Mostert

I know. I just said that the running back group was loaded for the 2021 season.

Still, Mostert slots in as the third most valuable upcoming free agent for the 49ers because of the role he plays on the team.

Not only is Mostert a valuable contributor on the field, he serves as the leader of the group and can be counted on in any situation.

San Francisco's offensive system focuses mainly on the running game, highlighting Mostert's importance even more.

He only played in eight games last season, but accumulated five yards per carry, and his elite speed makes him a weapon out of the backfield when necessary.

Yes, the 49ers drafted both Trey Sermon and Elijah Mitchell in the past draft, but Sermon's play style differs from Mostert's and actually complements the current starter well.

Mitchell seems a little away from being a valuable contributor and Mostert could serve as an effective mentor to the rookie.

However, the loaded position and the lessened value of the running back position in the NFL keeps Mostert at third on the list.

2. CB Jason Verrett

Starting cornerback Jason Verrett takes the #2 position on the list after his Pro-Bowl caliber season last year.

Prior to last season, Verrett had only played more than six games once in his six-year career: his Pro-Bowl season in 2015, and had played a combined six games in the three seasons prior to 2020 after a plethora of injuries.

Verrett returned to dominance last season in a depleted secondary and returned to the team on a team-friendly one-year deal with the weaker market this offseason.

Accumulating sixty tackles to go with two interceptions and seven passes defended, Verrett will look to build off his 2020 season and remain healthy before hitting free agency once again in 2021.

With a lack of quality options at the outside cornerback position, Verrett is a very valuable piece for the 49ers and is their second most important free agent in 2022.

1. LB Fred Warner

The obvious choice at first on this list, Fred Warner's resume at age 24 is nothing short of impressive.

He's made the Pro Bowl and been an All-Pro once, while racking up 367 tackles, five forced fumbles, three interceptions, and 15 tackles for loss over his three-year career.

Warner is eligible for an extension this offseason, so he might be locked up into a new contract soon, but currently, he stands as a free agent in 2022.

The heart of the 49ers defense, Warner has the ability to play be an off-ball and on-ball linebacker, cementing him amongst the top of his position at such a young age.

More importantly, there are a lack of quality options behind him and Dre Greenlaw at the position, making his presence even more valuable for the 49ers.

Warner is the best player and the most valuable to the 49ers on this list, making him the obvious choice of most important free agent in 2022 for the team.


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