LISTEN: Final 49ers 7-Round Mock Draft With Steph Sanchez →
placeholder image

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

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

Mar 10, 2024 at 8:30 AM--

Videos are auto-populated by an affiliate. This site has no control over the videos that appear above.
Although the defense finished as one of the top defenses in 2023 under Steve Wilks, the San Francisco 49ers struggled in a few areas, like stopping the run, finishing the pass rush with sacks, and surrendering explosive plays. In this editorial, we will look to find three defensive players to keep the 49ers defense among the elite.

The 49ers have 22 players scheduled to become free agents, 12 being defensive players. The team must address the edge, interior, and cornerback positions. Improving these three areas will keep the 49ers on top.

Three defensive ends—Chase Young, Randy Gregory, and Clelin Ferrell—are set to become free agents. Per Pro Football Focus (PFF), the trio totaled 74 pressures (11 sacks, 17 hits, and 46 hurries). If the 49ers want to turn a new leaf, they must address the edge position and spend some money to get Nick Bosa the proper complementary piece on the opposite side. The player that comes to mind is free-agent defensive end Bryce Huff.

In 2023, Huff's stats included 67 total pressures, seven less than the three previously mentioned. Huff had ten sacks, 12 hits, and 45 hurries. He had 15 total tackles with 16 stops and, most importantly, one missed tackle. PFF projects Huff to earn a three-year deal worth $50 million and $35 million guaranteed. Since the 49ers struggled to get to the quarterback in 2023, Huff would help fix that problem.

Corey Perrine-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers struggled against the run in 2023 (Arik Armstead costs $28.6 million, and Javon Hargrave costs $15.4 million), so expect the team to look for inexpensive run stuffers. Former third-round draft pick Derrick Nnadi from the Kansas Chiefs comes to mind as 49ers defensive linemen Javon Kinlaw and Kevin Givens test free agency.

Here's what the 49ers will get from Nnadi: he's a 317-pound run-stuffing defensive tackle. He's a Super Bowl champion. He gives good production and won't hurt the 49ers' pockets financially. Nnadi completed the 2023 season playing 500 snaps, with nine total pressures (one and eight hurries), 32 total tackles, and 14 for a loss. He's healthy and ready to help out a defensive front.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Last but not least is the cornerback position. With Tre'Davious White released from the Buffalo Bills, the 49ers could and should make the call to White's agents. White is recovering from an Achilles injury and returning from an ACL injury the previous season. The 49ers could offer white a one-year incentive-based deal to sure up the back end of the team's defense.

When healthy, White is a lockdown corner in the NFL. His last healthy season was in 2020, where he played 878 snaps for three pressures (two sacks and a quarterback hit), 51 total tackles, 14 for a loss, gave up 34 receptions on 55 targets (61.8%) and had seven pass breakups. White and Charvarius Ward, with Deommodore Lenoir as the nickel back, could be one of the most feared secondaries in the NFL.

In conclusion, the 49ers must remain at the top and can do so with the right pieces added in free agency. Will head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch give new defensive coordinator Nick Sorensen some shiny new toys? Let the free agency frenzy begin.
  • 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 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.

1 Comment

  • Bill
    Sign a free agent DB who suffered both an ACL tear and then an Achilles??? Who are you, Wayne? Trent Baalke in disguise? Those are Baalke-like investments. Besides, we already have a DB like that on the roster. His name is Jason Verrett. He gets injured every time he steps on grass. Great player when healthy. But he's never healthy.
    Mar 10, 2024 at 4:36 PM

Facebook Comments

More San Francisco 49ers News

placeholder image

5 reasons why 49ers QB Brock Purdy will be better in 2024

By Marc Adams
Apr 20

The San Francisco 49ers appear to have found their quarterback. It was a bumpy road on the journey to locate him, too. There was the up-and-down tenure of Jimmy Garoppolo, whose relationship with Head Coach Kyle Shanahan seemed dysfunctional, at times. Then there was the short-lived Trey Lance experiment. Garoppolo and Lance are no longer being with the team, and one major reason is the emergence of Brock Purdy as the team's QB. Purdy finished his second season with a trip to the Super Bowl, after having a Pro Bowl season in which he finished with 4,280 yards and 31 touchdowns. He also led the league in multiple statistics, including passer rating (113.0) and QBR (72.8). Additionally, Purdy finished fourth in NFL MVP voting. But a year ago, no one knew what to

placeholder image

49ers' Brock Purdy focused on 2024, not contract 'nonsense'

By David Bonilla
Apr 22

During the NFL owners' meetings, San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York noted the significant rise in quarterback salaries in recent years. However, he acknowledged the market value of such players, recognizing that he'll have to sign a substantial check for his young quarterback, Brock Purdy, next year. York stated, "And to me, the quarterback is the most important position, not just in football, but in all sports, and those guys should be paid a lot." Last week, Brock Purdy addressed York's comments, showing no concern about the financial implications that will arise next year. Instead, he

placeholder image

Top 49ers Offensive Prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft

By Wayne P. Brown
Apr 23

With the 2024 NFL Draft just around the corner, the anticipation is palpable as San Francisco prepares to make their first first-round selection in over two years. Here, I present the top prospects for each offensive position, both inside and outside the top 100, with their potential to shape the team's future and draft grades. Quarterback - Michael Penix Jr., Washington 2nd-round grade Strengths: Pocket passer High IQ and processing Blitz beater Concerns: Durability (Four season-ending injuries) Accuracy outside the pocket. Michael Penix Jr. is a great pocket-passing quarterback with a high IQ pre- and post-snap. He can read the defense well and

placeholder image

2024 NFL Draft: Dates, times, TV, streaming, 49ers picks, more

By Site Staff
17 hrs

The San Francisco 49ers possess 10 selections in the 2024 NFL Draft, including the No. 31 overall pick. Notably, the team did not hold selections in the first two rounds last year. Below is essential information regarding the three-day rookie selection process, marking the 89th occurrence in league history. As always, you can rely on 49ers Webzone for live news and breakdowns from the draft. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook. 49ers Draft Picks Round 1, Pick 31 Overall Round 2, Pick 63 Overall Round 3, Pick 94 Overall Round 4, Pick 124 Overall (via


Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone