Free agency is more than just retaining players.
The 49ers will have to look outward for players that they either upgrade a position, fill out depth, or replace a player. However, not every free agent player is going to be worth the time and money, especially with the 49ers' tight salary cap space.
Here are five free agents the 49ers should avoid signing.
Arguably one of the biggest names in free agency is cornerback Patrick Peterson. After spending 10 seasons with the Cardinals, he is now bound for a new destination. Hopefully that new destination is not Santa Clara. The 49ers need to steer clear of Peterson. Yes, I know big names like his are very enticing. But much against popular belief, Peterson is not the same elite player he once was three or four years ago. He is still a capable starter. I just don't see the same high-level talent there anymore.
Peterson will be 31 years old at the start of the season. He will likely cost a pretty penny to sign, which is the opposite of what the 49ers can afford. His scheme fit isn't even a big issue here. I just don't believe he can play to the best of his ability anymore just based on what I see from his regressing physical traits and technique. If there is any corner the 49ers should sign it is keeping Jason Verrett in their ranks. How I see Peterson's season going is either pretty solid or outright poor. And I am leaning towards the poor side. Sign Verrett and draft a cornerback finally instead.
I didn't think I really needed to list Mitchell Trubisky in this, but since quarterback discussions surround the 49ers, I just had to put him here. Stay away from Trubisky. The guy's best trait is standing on the sideline holding a clipboard. Even signing him as a backup should be taboo for the 49ers. There are a lot of quarterbacks in this league that I believe are better than Jimmy Garoppolo. Trubisky is not one of them.
It is actually appalling to even mention the two in the same breathe. Trubisky is just a career backup. He is not an upgrade from Garoppolo as a passer. He simply isn't worth the investment. The 49ers are better off turning their attention towards Ryan Fitzpatrick if they really take a dive in the quarterback free agent market.
During Super Bowl week, running back Todd Gurley said in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area that he has "thought about playing for the 49ers." That is quite unfortunate for him because he is placed on my free agents avoid list for them. Signing Gurley makes absolutely no sense. The 49ers are better off signing my editor Grant Cohn as Quality Control coach. At least he would be more impactful.
What would Gurley bring to the table or do different than Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr.? Nothing at all. Gurley's last two seasons have been a massive downward spiral. At this stage in his career, he is a rotational running back now. Even if he is cheap, the 49ers still would do best to let another team believe that Gurley is still talented.
I am astonished that no pundits or even fans have suggested that the 49ers sign pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney. I recall the lead up to the 2020 season where plenty of people, including my colleagues at All49ers, were pounding the table for the 49ers to sign him. What has changed? Nothing really, other than the fact that people woke up. Clowney is who he is. A player who is enormously inconsistent.
The Titans signed Clowney expecting their pass rush to be boosted. Well, they saw their pass rush rank as one of the worst in the league. He is just too injury prone, questionable effort, and overpriced. The 49ers should just re-sign Kerry Hyder Jr. if this is the route they are thinking of. At least Hyder isn't made of glass and keeps his motor running every week.
Speaking of players who fans advocated for, it wasn't too long ago that wide receiver A.J. Green was brought up in hypothetical trades. It was a laughable trade then, and it is just as hilarious to mention him as a free agent signing for the 49ers. If the 49ers were to go after Green, then it will be truly embarrassing. The cost for Green would most likely not be pricey, but why even waste the investment on him?
Green can't play anymore. His health is not great, not to mention that he can't produce. Making impact plays and being that stud receiver is in the past for him. I mean, Tee Higgins, a rookie, was standing out more than him. And I am not trying to diss Higgins because he can certainly ball out. But Green was once an elite receiver who garnered heavy defensive attention. Now he is just a guy. Signing him and any of these free agents I have listed already would be a waste of a roster space for the 49ers.