Shop: 2024 49ers Training Camp Headwear →
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports


Top 5 Free Agents the 49ers Should Target

Bobby Horne
Jan 24, 2019 at 1:45 PM


Videos are auto-populated by an affiliate. This site has no control over the videos that appear above.
Heading into 2019 the 49ers' top priority is to get better in all phases as I'm sure a repeat of 2018 is not something they want. The 2019 NFL free agency period is one of the first chances to do just that.

Relying on free agents to take your team to the next level, especially after a four-win season, is not a team's best option as proper drafting and development of younger players is what will ultimately help sustain success for a franchise. But you shouldn't underestimate the importance of what a few good free agent signings can do for a team.

They can bring in a veteran presence to an otherwise young team. The 49ers' own Richard Sherman is the perfect example of just that. They can show younger players how to be professionals in their day-to-day duties, helping along that development process.

As the start of the 2019 league year is on the horizon, let's take a look at the top five free agents who the 49ers should keep their eyes on.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports


1. DeMarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys, EDGE:

A name that will likely be at the forefront of all free agent discussions. Lawrence will be the top name until proven otherwise. The 49ers' major weakness in the previous two seasons under head coach Kyle Shanahan has been the pass rush. It's been almost non-existent as they have finished in the bottom half of the league in sacks both years.

Lawrence would certainly change things in San Francisco and would do so in a hurry. Don't let the drop in sacks from 2017 to 2018 (14.5 to 10.5) fool you. Lawrence has been one of the very best pass rushers in the league over the last two seasons.


Now it's likely that Dallas will do everything it can to keep a player of this magnitude and sign him to a long-term deal. Nonetheless, with some other big names that it has to sign and Lawrence likely wanting top dollar it's certainly a possibility he tests free agency. As long as it's a possibility the 49ers should be doing their due diligence.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports


2. Jadeveon Clowney, Houston Texans, EDGE:

Clowney is another top name in the EDGE department who is scheduled to be a free agent. Clowney finished the 2018 season with nine sacks, making it the second year in a row he has hit that mark. He also put in his best year as a pro in 2018, according to Pro Football Focus.


Clowney will be entering his sixth season but is only 25 years old and has quite a bit of football left in the tank and could certainly change the face of the 49ers defensive line. The 49ers won't be able to take Clowney away easily though as the Texans will have the option to utilize the franchise tag on him if they see fit.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports


3. Dee Ford, Kansas City Chiefs, EDGE:

Are you starting to see a trend here? The 49ers need EDGE help badly and will not only have to draft well in this department but will have to also likely hit on a free agent if they want to get to the next level.

The Chiefs' Dee Ford can be that guy. Ford finished the 2018 season with 13 sacks and put in a career year, according to Pro Football Focus.


He also was graded as the top pass rusher in the 2018 postseason with a 92.3. It seemed that it all just clicked for Ford in 2018. He was dominant throughout the year and would fit nicely into the 49ers' scheme.

The Chiefs can also utilize the franchise tag but with the recent firing of their defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, a new coordinator may not see him as a fit and the Chiefs could let him test free agency. If that happens, expect the 49ers to go all in.

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports


4. Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks, Safety:

The 49ers have been down this road before. An All-Pro 29-year-old defensive back coming off a season-ending injury on a contract year in which he has publicly shown his displeasure with his current team. Sound familiar? Richard Sherman was in that boat and so is Earl Thomas.

The 49ers needed CB help then (still do) and need safety help now after being decimated by injuries. Adding another All-Pro talent to the backfield just seems like a no brainer at this point.

Thomas is not going back to the Seahawks, this much we know, and his buddy Richard should be in his ear saying, "we play the Seahawks twice a year". He still is playing at a high level, is under 30 and won't be asking for top dollar.

This just makes too much sense and if you asked me to put money on who the 49ers will likely get from this list, I'd put it all on Thomas. Make it happen 49ers.

Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports


5. Golden Tate, Philadelphia Eagles, WR:

The lone offensive player on this list, Tate has been one of the most consistent receivers in the NFL since he entered. Although the 49ers' true receiver need is on the outside, which isn't where Tate lines up. Tate's consistent play, veteran presence and ability to break tackles can't be overlooked.


Even playing for two different teams with different systems in 2018, Tate still managed to put up nearly 800 yards and four touchdowns while averaging over 10 yards per reception. In a Shanahan offense, I think those numbers could elevate by a large margin. He wouldn't be a long-term solution being that he is already 30 years old but he would fill the "Pierre Garçon" roll in a much better fashion for less money.

Tate should be on the 49ers' list, as Shanahan could work wonders with a consistent veteran receiver near the end of his career.

Honorable Mentions:

Dante Folwer Jr., Los Angeles Rams, EDGE
Ronald Darby, Philadelphia Eagles, CB
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


More San Francisco 49ers News



Two 49ers land in top 10 of PFF's wide receiver ranking

By David Bonilla
May 24

The San Francisco 49ers' wide receiver situation remains unresolved as Brandon Aiyuk, the team's leading receiver last season, did not join organized team activities (OTAs) this week as he seeks a contract extension. This was expected, given the voluntary nature of the current phase of the offseason. Despite contract uncertainty, the top of the 49ers' wide receiver depth chart is not expected to change for the upcoming season. The starters will be Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, with a healthy dose of Jauan Jennings and rookie Ricky Pearsall sprinkled in. This group is expected to pose a formidable challenge for opposing defenses, with Aiyuk and Samuel considered one of the top duos in the NFL. Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus recently



49ers' five most difficult games in 2024

By Marc Adams
May 19

Which 2024 game will be the most difficult for the San Francisco 49ers? There are a few to choose from. The NFL schedule-makers did the 49ers no favors. They will travel more air miles than most teams and have the worst rest disadvantage in the league at -21. That means they have multiple games in which the other team is coming off a bye or a mini-bye. Even when the 49ers seem to have an advantage because they're coming off a mini-bye, their next game is against a team returning from their bye week. The Baltimore Ravens, on the other hand, have the best rest advantage in the league (+16). Last week I highlighted the 49ers' top five non-divisional games. Those are the most important



49ers and WR Brandon Aiyuk reportedly not close on a new contract

By Marc Adams
May 19

The San Francisco 49ers need wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. And Aiyuk needs the 49ers. But the two sides are reportedly not close on a new deal that would keep the star receiver in San Francisco for years to come. Sunday morning, on SportsCenter, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that the 49ers and Aiyuk are not close in contract negotiations, leading many to wonder if Aiyuk will hold out (not show up) or hold in (show up but not participate) for the remainder of the offseason and even training camp. "This one's tricky because he was implicated in some trade talks around the draft," Fowler said. "He wants a new contract; has one year left. I'm told the 49ers certainly are open to doing a deal, but talks have not progressed enough where things are close. And



49ers' Brock Purdy completes tosses to George Kittle at Levi's Stadium...during Luke Combs concert

By Marc Adams
May 19

San Francisco 49ers fans are accustomed to seeing QB Brock Purdy complete passes to tight end George Kittle. On Saturday night, the duo hooked up a few more times at Levi's Stadium. But it was on a stage rather than on the field. Country music star, Luke Combs, was in concert at Levi's Stadium, when part of the way through his show, he called Purdy and Kittle on stage to join him. After downing a beer with Combs, Kittle then motioned for Purdy to throw him another. Of course, his quarterback obliged. In the video, it appears that Combs raised his hand for another, but Purdy looked him off, choosing to go to his star tight end


Latest

More by Bobby Horne

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone