20% off at the official 49ers online store with code COACH20 →
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports


Under-the-Radar Free Agent Options for the 49ers

Matthew Barr
Jan 21, 2019 at 4:14 PM


By now, 49ers' fans are well versed in the big names that will be hitting the free agent market this offseason. Earl Thomas, Demarcus Lawrence, Brandon Graham and LeVeon Bell are players who will command a large following from potential suitors. While only a few names will create hype and sell jerseys in the offseason, many more teams really make their money by bringing in players who fill key roles without breaking the bank. Here is a look at some smaller name free agents the 49ers could look to bring in.

OLB Preston Smith, Washington Redskins


The 49ers biggest weakness on the team is EDGE defender. They were unable to generate consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks which lead to a young secondary getting picked apart from time to time. Preston Smith, despite a career-low four sacks, was a solid player for the Washington Redskins in 2018. Overall, he ranked as the 19th best all-around EDGE defender per Pro Football Focus and at 6'5" and 265 lbs, he possesses the size to play the LEO position in Robert Saleh's defense. The Redskins finished 2018 as a dumpster fire and many players could be looking to get out sooner, rather than later. Smith will enter the 2019 season at just 26 years old and could be a long-term building block for the 49ers.

OLB Shaquil Barrett, Denver Broncos


Malcolm Smith was one of the first free agents that John Lynch brought aboard following his hiring in 2017 and Smith has been a disappointment at the SAM linebacker position. Shaquil Barrett is another young outside linebacker who would be able to find a home in the San Francisco defense at a position of need. Barrett was able to create six tackles for loss in run defense over the course of 2018 while playing a rotational role behind Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. Barrett did miss three games with a hip flexor injury but that could play to the 49ers' advantage. He could be a discount signing twho is able to transform the SAM position.

WR Tyrell Williams, Los Angeles Chargers


It is reasonable to assume that the 49ers will move on from Pierre Garçon before the start of training camp. This leaves a wide receiving corps a little barren. With a height of 6'4", Tyrell Williams would be far and away the tallest receiver on the roster. Williams was inconsistent for the Chargers this past season but fits the profile of what Kyle Shanahan wants in a wide receiver. He is exceptionally fast for his size and showed that off at the draft combine when he ran a 4.43 second 40-yard dash in 2015. Williams averaged 15.9 yards per catch and would provide a good red zone target for QB Jimmy Garoppolo next season.

G Mark Glowinski, Indianapolis Colts


Of all the position groups, the 49ers offensive line exceeded expectations the most. However, current starting right guard Mike Person is a free agent and will be 31 when the new season rolls around. Glowinski is four years younger and was one of the premiere run-blocking guards in the league last year. He helped QB Andrew Luck bounce back from injury to help the Colts to the playoffs. Glowinski does not have a huge sample size with only nine starts in 2018 and as such will not warrant the interest other offensive lineman will in free agency.

TE Maxx Williams, Baltimore Ravens


When the Baltimore Ravens drafted tight ends in both the first and third rounds of the 2018 draft, the writing was on the wall for Maxx Williams. He was forced down the depth chart and it was clear that the Ravens were ready to move on. Williams, who will turn 25 in April, has been a solid all-around tight end, ranking as the 16th best graded tight end in the league last season. The 49ers have a need opposite of All-Pro TE George Kittle. TE Garrett Celek is getting up there in age and the 49ers could stand for an improved number two, especially given how frequently Kyle Shanahan has two tight ends on the field at once. "Celek Time" was fun but that may be coming to an end.

ILB Cory Littleton, Los Angeles Rams


Reuben Foster's departure left a vacancy in the middle of Robert Saleh's defense. Rookie LB Fred Warner exceeded expectations proving to be a true sideline-to-sideline presence in both the run game and coverage. Cory Littleton was an integral part of the success of both the Rams' defense and special teams. Littleton was an elite coverage linebacker with three interceptions, 13 passes defensed and he returned a Nick Mullens interception for a touchdown. He would pair nicely alongside Warner, especially during sub packages in an ever-increasingly passing league.
  • Matthew Barr
  • Written by:
    Matthew Barr has been writing for 49ers Webzone and 49ers Hub since 2018 and co-hosts the 4th and Gold podcast which can be found on all podcast platforms. He can be found on Twitter fighting an endless battle to get the underscore removed from his handle, @MattBarr_.
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.


0 Comments

  • No Comments

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



49ers stock plummets in Week 5 NFL Power Rankings

By Chris Wilson
Oct 6

The analysts who were clamoring for backup quarterback Trey Lance no longer believe the 49ers are a playoff-caliber team. When San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans was exposed in Week 3, the young coordinator's incompetence was far from a hot topic of conversation amongst members of the national sports media -- if it was even discussed at all. After months of fawning over rookie quarterback Trey Lance, the media finally got its wish in Week 4, as the latest future of the 49ers' franchise played the entire second half of the Niners' loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The rookie certainly looked the part during the team's defeat, simply proving what was obvious all along: He's not ready; but who expected him to be? Although analysts



49ers-Cardinals: How to watch, stream, and listen to the Week 5 matchup

By Site Staff
Oct 6

After two consecutive losses at home, the San Francisco 49ers hope to turn things around on the road against the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals. The Niners look to improve to 33-27 overall against the division foe. The Bay Area squad has won three of the past four matchups between the two teams. The 49ers have also won each of the previous two meetings at State Farm Stadium. San Francisco is coming off a 21-28 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium. Arizona is undefeated and coming off a 37-20 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel finished the game with eight receptions for 156 yards and two touchdowns, marking his first



Golden Nugget Award: 49ers WR Deebo Samuel continues dominating play in loss to Seahawks

By Sasha D. Robinson
Oct 6

Each week, I present the Golden Nugget Award to a San Francisco 49ers player who had an outstanding game or managed to defy the odds. Week 4's award goes to third-year wide receiver Deebo Samuel. The other nominees for this week's award were quarterback Trey Lance for coming off the bench and displaying why the 49ers traded up to the No. 3 overall pick to draft him, defensive ends Dee Ford and Nick Bosa for showing dominance along the defensive line, and running back Trey Sermon for his 19 carries for 89 rushing yards against the Seattle Seahawks. Samuel, whose real name is Tyshun, received the nickname Deebo, the name of the notorious bully from the movie "Friday," from his father Galen, because he always took things away from people as a toddler. The 49ers lost



Cynthia Frelund lists 49ers among contenders despite 2-2 start

By David Bonilla
Oct 6

San Francisco 49ers fans appear to be in a bit of a mini panic regarding the fate of their favorite NFL team. The Niners entered the season viewed as a playoff contender and a strong candidate to emerge as the NFC West champions. However, stumbling out of the 2021 season gate with a 2-2 record has generated some concern. Were the offseason expectations for San Francisco too high? It's a topic discussed at length in the latest episode of the 49ers Webzone No Huddle Podcast. It's also a topic touched on by NFL Media analytics expert Cynthia Frelund, who, in


Featured

More by Matthew Barr

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone