Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


49ers Mailbag: The draft, free agency and someone named Antonio Brown

Al Sacco
Jan 16, 2019 at 9:14 AM0


The offseason is quickly approaching and speculation is running rampant about what the San Francisco 49ers might do. Fans are clamoring for news about the draft, free agency and whether or not a trade might happen for a certain wide receiver. Let's take a look at what the Faithful want to know in the latest mailbag:

Q: With only 5 picks in the draft, do you think there is a strong possibility the 49ers trade out from #2? (@JWalizerJr)

A: Trading back is definitely a possibility for the 49ers, but I think a lot of it depends on what the Arizona Cardinals do at number one overall. With Kliff Kingsbury taking over in the desert, I'm sure he has his own vision of what he wants his roster to look like, and it's still not certain that Josh Rosen is the guy behind center. It's possible Klingsbury can fall in love with a quarterback, or maybe decide Alabama's Quinnen Williams is the best player overall, and pass on Ohio State's Nick Bosa altogether. If that happens, the 49ers should sprint to the podium and take the player that could be the missing piece to the defense.

Now if Bosa is gone, then things could get interesting. Josh Allen (Kentucky) has huge upside off the edge, but is he the second best player on the board? I'm not so sure. This draft is deep in terms of pass rushers, and San Francisco is sitting in a very fortunate position. A team like the Jacksonville Jaguars or New York Giants might decide to make a move for their quarterback of the future, and that would give the Niners options. Sliding to six or seven overall still allows head coach Kyle Shanahan and company the opportunity to get a coveted edge player as well as badly needed extra picks. In this scenario, names like Clelin Ferrell (Clemson), Rashan Gary (Michigan), or maybe even Allen could all be in play.

Q: What free agents do you believe the 49ers could go after really hard? (@jonathan_cbar)

A: I have no idea what to expect from the 49ers when it comes to free agency. I think it all depends on whether or not this current regime feels pressure to win now, or if it continues to take the slow build approach. If it's the latter, you could see it target more mid-tier level players to help fill out the roster rather than make a big splash. That would no doubt anger a lot of fans who are growing impatient after four straight 10-plus loss seasons.

If I had to guess though, I do think the 49ers will make a run at one recognizable name in former Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas. Even at 30 years old, Thomas still offers the kind of big play ability the Niners desperately need. After all, Thomas had more interceptions in 2018 (three) than the entire San Francisco roster (two) despite only playing four games. Thomas is experienced in the system and will provide stability and a veteran presence for a secondary that's had too many breakdowns.

Thomas' age and injury history are a bit of a concern, but a four-year deal with most of the guaranteed money upfront wouldn't be a bad investment. The deal might be more of a two-year commitment that gives the 49ers an opportunity to move on after 2020 and not anything that would hamper them long-term.

As far as other options, I personally like Tyrell Williams who's been a productive receiver with the Los Angeles Chargers. Williams is big (6'4) and has the speed Shanahan covets. In four seasons with the Chargers, Williams scored 17 times and broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016. 1,000 yards may not seem like a lot these days, but the only wide outs to achieve that mark in a 49ers uniform since 2003 have been Michael Crabtree (2012) and Anquan Boldin (2013, 2014).

The biggest signing though? That might be an extension with DeForest Buckner. Coming off a career year, it's imperative that Buckner stays in the fold, and it would benefit John Lynch and Paraag Marathe to get the deal done now while they have the cap room.

Q: Was not taking Derwin James a huge mistake? (@HowieHype89)

A: This is a really interesting question because the 49ers are a team that badly needs playmakers (especially on defense) and James is certainly that. In his rookie season with the Chargers, the stand out safety registered 105 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three interceptions and 13 passes defensed. He was named a first-team All-Pro and elected to the Pro Bowl. Simple put: James is a game changer.

In hindsight, would the 49ers have been better off taking James at nine overall and keeping Trent Brown? Maybe, but it's not like they made a bad pick. Mike McGlinchey seems like he'll be around for awhile at tackle, and the athletic former Notre Dame standout gives Shanahan an upgrade in the run blocking department. He's not the pass blocker Brown is, but you have to remember that Brown was also scheduled to become a free agent. Given his weight problems and the fact that he wasn't a great scheme fit, I doubt the 49ers would have committed the $10-plus million per year it would have taken to re-sign him.

Q: Is A.J. Green someone the Niners could go after in free agency? (@JakeMcCoy85)

A: While the Cincinnati Bengals do have an out in Green's contract that would cost them only $3 million in dead money in 2019, he's technically not a free agent until 2020. At that point he'd be entering his age 32 season, and I'm not sure I'd break the bank at that point. Green missed six games in 2016 and seven more in 2018. That alone should give any interested team pause in committing big money to any player, especially when you factor in his age.

Q: Al! Antonio Brown????? (Literally everyone)

A: Given the amount of cap room they have and the glaring need at the position, the 49ers will be connected to any big name receiver that's rumored to be available. Brown is the hot name now, and there's been a lot of talk about him wanting to come to San Francisco. If it actually came to fruition, I see it as a short-term, win-now move. At 31-years old, any team acquiring Brown has to assume it'll get two impact seasons, and then hope he doesn't have a steep decline. It's just not reasonable to think any receiver can sustain what he's done in his prime years well into his 30s. This is especially true for Brown who's averaged an insane 114/1,524/11 since 2013.

There's also the question of Brown's attitude. He flat out quit on the Pittsburgh Steelers before the biggest game of the season, and the fact that so many people are brushing that aside is a little crazy to me. I guess if you can play it doesn't matter to most, and considering any team acquiring him would be doing so for only the next two or three years, the assumption might be that Brown would be a good solider in a new setting for the short-term.

In the end, will the 49ers end up with the ultra-talented wide out? It's hard to imagine the team won't be doing its due diligence (see what I did there?) but I'm not sure it'll get done. Call me skeptical, but given the likely high draft pick it'll cost and $40-plus million due to Brown in 2019-2020, it just doesn't see like a move the 49ers would make.

But then again, you never know. Maybe they'll prove me wrong.

Al Sacco is the Senior Writer for 49ers Webzone, contributor to The Niners Wire and has had his work used by national outlets such as ESPN and USA TODAY. In addition to his writing duties, Al is also the co-host of the No Huddle podcast. If you'd like to reach Al with a media request, please contact him via Twitter @AlSacco49 or at [email protected].
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


0 Comments

  • No Comments

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



49ers coach Kyle Shanahan named Grand Marshal of Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Cup Series

By David Bonilla
Jun 3, 2021

The San Francisco 49ers don't practice this weekend. That frees up head coach Kyle Shanahan to do something different. Very different. According to Ted Ward of Bay Area News Group, Shanahan has been named the Grand Marshal of Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway and will be the one to announce the start of the race. "Shanahan joins other notable NFL personalities with quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa (Homestead-Miami Speedway) and Derek Carr (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) having been NASCAR grand marshals this season," wrote Ward. You might not describe Shanahan as a NASCAR die-hard. This



49ers' Fred Warner the only non-DB named to Next Gen Stats' top 10 coverage players

By David Bonilla
Jun 4, 2021

Fred Warner is a pretty good defensive back ... er ... linebacker. Wait a minute... Nick Shook of NFL Media published a ranking of the top 10 coverage players in the NFL from 2020, and one player seems to be out of place. Warner of the San Francisco 49ers is a linebacker. Everyone else on the list is a defensive back. The list was created using several advanced metrics. "We set a minimum of 300 coverage snaps and 40 targets to achieve legitimate volume among qualifiers," Shook explained. "Players also had to finish with a catch rate allowed that was below expectation, a negative targeted expected points added (a



Four 49ers players named to NFL.com's ultimate 53-man roster

By David Bonilla
Jun 14, 2021

Four San Francisco 49ers players were named to NFL.com's "ultimate 53-man roster." Like any honorary roster, this one consists of some of the top names in the game — with one caveat. The roster must be constructed using the 2021 salary cap of $182.5 million and each player's salary for the upcoming season. That means the roster can't be stuffed with Pro Bowlers and All-Pros as backups. Anthony Holzman-Escareno created the roster, and he had some tough decisions to make. It's still an impressive collection of players, though. The starting lineup has big names like Patrick Mahomes at quarterback and defensive tackle Aaron



49ers cancel Tuesday practice and media availability following losses of Skule and Moore

By David Bonilla
Jun 8, 2021

The San Francisco 49ers have canceled Tuesday's noon practice, which was scheduled to be the last of three practices open to the media. The news comes after the losses of offensive lineman Justin Skule and safety Tarvarius Moore during Monday's session. Skule suffered a torn ACL while Moore suffered a torn Achilles. RELATED: 49ers lose Justin Skule to torn ACL, Tarvarius Moore to torn Achilles Skule is expected to miss the 2021 season, while there is some hope that Moore might return before the end of the


Featured

More by Al Sacco

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone