Did the 49ers do Enough in Free Agency?
Jose Luis Sanchez III
Only four players were added to the San Francisco 49ers since the free agency tampering period officially began on March 16. That is a number that isn't going to move the needle for many people, especially the fans.
Free agency usually creates a demand for excitement for fans because it is a chance for their favorite team to bring in the "sexy" name. Prior to free agency, the 49ers salary-cap space was abysmal. They had just under $13 million of space, so they were not going to be big spenders by default.
However, when the Niners traded DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts, they gained a chunk of cap space back when his contract came off the books. Once that occurred, the 49ers could officially look at those "sexy" names in the market. Unfortunately for the fans who were hoping for that, the 49ers did the opposite.
They re-signed their own players like Arik Armstead, Jimmie Ward and few other key depth players. With the little bit of cap space left, they went and signed four players from outside the team. It really was a boring free agency for the 49ers, who possibly got worse with these moves.
It begs the question to ask: did the 49ers do enough in free agency?
No they did not. They went beyond enough.
For a team that was poised to do absolutely nothing in free agency a month ago - the 49ers exceeded expectations. This is a team that was just in the Super Bowl and were seven minutes away from being crowned champions. There isn't a whole lot of moves they need to make anyways.
What their top priority was going into free agency was keeping as much of the main roster as intact. They accomplished that goal profusely by locking in two of their top three star free agents. Emmanuel Sanders was the only one who ended up departing the team, which was to be expected.
Retaining Armstead and Ward seemed like a pipe-dream prior to the Buckner trade. At one point, it was even thought that the 49ers would lose out on both Armstead and Ward. However, John Lynch and his staff worked tirelessly to configure a plan to keep these players and a few other quality depth players.
They made the moves that they needed to do, which is what plenty of teams make the mistake of doing in free agency. This is the period where teams should be addressing need, not go overboard with the spending just because they have the cap space. Even with a limited cap, the 49ers were able to create some and keep a strong core of players.
Along with that, they gained crucial draft capital in the Buckner trade with the 13th overall pick. That pick needs to be considered when deciding if the 49ers did enough in free agency. San Francisco has set themselves up for an interesting draft, which looked just as abysmal as their free agency outlook a month ago.