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Three Key Offensive Free Agents to Make the 49ers Better in 2024

Mar 8, 2024 at 8:55 AM--


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The 49ers must address several areas, but improving the offensive line is the most significant. They could also add to the defensive pass rush and another cornerback to the roster. With 22 players set to test free agency and one player released (Isaiah Oliver), who will the 49ers look to add to the roster in 2024?

Knowing the 49ers are currently over the cap (-3.5M Top 51) per Spotrac.com, expect the team to restructure, extend, and even trade a player or two to help relieve the cap heading into 2024. That said, the team will have some money to spend on free agents to help improve the team. Let's dive into who's available and how they will make an impact in 2024.

The Offensive Line


The 49ers could use an upgrade at the center and right tackle positions. Jake Brendel is the current starting center for the 49ers. Per Spotrac.com, on March 14, 2023, Brendel signed a four-year deal for $16.4 million. Per PFF.com, Brendel ranked 16th out of the 36 centers in 2023. He played 1,024 snaps and allowed 29 pressures (two sacks, three hits, and 24 hurries) with only one penalty throughout the regular season. Although Brendel did okay, there is a free agent the 49ers should inquire about this offseason.

Free agent center Connor Williams will be testing the free agency market. He's projected to receive a three-year $22.5 million deal with $12.5 million guaranteed. Williams was drafted to play guard by the Dallas Cowboys, but in Miami, he played center under head coach Mike McDaniel. McDaniel runs the same zone-run system as the 49ers. When head coach Kyle Shanahan has his center, he seems to look better.

Weston Richburg and Alex Mack are the two centers that come to mind where the run blocking and pass blocking, as well as the flow of the offense, seemed better under Shanahan. Williams is 26 years old and ranked second out of 36 centers. In 2023, Williams played 497 snaps and allowed six pressures (one sack, one hit, and four hurries). Williams tore his ACL in a Monday Night Football game in 2023. This could affect his price in 2024. If Shanahan and general manager John Lynch want to address the offensive line in free agency, they must call William's agent.

On March 9th, 2023, per Spotrac.com, the 49ers extended tackle Colton McKivitz to a two-year deal. McKivitz is on the books for $3.6 million in 2024. The 49ers may look to upgrade to the right tackle position, and McKivtiz will revert to the swing tackle. In 2023, he ranked 47th out of 81 tackles. He ranked eight spots lower than former 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey. In 2023, McKivitz played 1,040 snaps and allowed 47 pressures (nine sacks, four hits, and 34 hurries.)

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Free agent right tackle Mike Onwenu is available, and the 49ers could upgrade the offensive line with a phone call and an agreement over the upcoming week. Onwenu is projected to get a four-year $58 million deal with $33.25 million guaranteed. This may seem pricey, but it's time for the 49ers to protect the franchise, Brock Purdy, who will be looking for an extension at the end of the 2024 season.

Onwenu ranked 29th out of 81 offensive tackles. In 2023, he played 850 snaps and allowed 23 total pressures (three sacks, two hits, and 18 hurries.). If the 49ers added a player like Onwenu, the 49er's offensive line would be upgraded, especially on the ends.

Wide Receiver


The 49ers wide receiving room consists of Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Ronnie Bell, Tay Martin, and Danny Gray. Jauan Jennings is set to become a restricted free agent who will likely have a tender placed on his contract. Which round tender will be placed on him has yet to be set in stone, so there's a possibility Jennings will leave the team in free agency. The 49ers plan to work out an extension, but until then, he remains a restricted free agent.

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The 49ers won't spend much money on this position in free agency. Usually, a veteran is willing to contribute to special teams and add to the core. With Ray-Ray McCloud hitting free agency, the 49ers need a return specialist. Free agent wide receiver Jamal Agnew (Jaguars) graded 76.1 returns per PFF in 2023. Agnew completed the season with 391 yards on kick returns and 144 yards on punt returns compared to 225 kick return and 203 punt return yards for McCloud.

Agnew averaged 26.1 yards on kick returns and 10.3 yards on punt returns compared to McCloud's 22.5 and 8.5. In 2023, Agnew completed 70% of his catches (14-20) for 225 yards, averaging 16.1 yards per reception, and caught a touchdown. Agnew would be a great addition to the wide receiver corps and a solid piece to help improve on special teams.

In conclusion, whether the 49ers make a vast splash or a tiny ripple in free agency, they must address the keys on offense to keep the wheel turning. Protect the franchise and provide him with options. Mike Onwenu, Connor Willams, and Jamal Agnew would be solid additions and help the 49ers return to the Super Bowl. Stay tuned for the defensive edition.
  • Written by:
    Wayne Breezie is a 49ers content creator. He had his first guest appearance on Ronbosports in 2012. He began writing for a Facebook group called the League of the 49ers. Next, he began writing for Nothing But Niners in 2017. In 2018, Wayne Breezie made his debut on YouTube’s Nothing But Niners show. In 2019, he started his podcast called Nitty Gritty Niners. After putting the pen down for several years, Breezie saw an opportunity to write for 49erscap.com. His first published article was in January of 2022 with 49ersCap, and he currently writes and produces weekly podcasts.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.



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