San Francisco 49ers: Four Free agents to Avoid
Jose Luis Sanchez III
Free agency is about a month away from kicking off, which means all the hypothetical scenarios you could think of will be talked about. It always bring in juicy conversation by imaging where these free agents where go. As exciting as it is to talk about, one team that won't be mentioned in many hypothetical scenarios is the San Francisco 49ers.
The Niners have roughly $13 million in salary cap space, which means they will not be major players in free agency next month. They wouldn't be able to dive deep into signing players even if they wanted to. The 49ers are currently looking to sign George Kittle to a lucrative extension that is assuredly going to reset the market for tight ends.
Not to mention the decisions that will be made regarding Arik Armstead, Jimmie Ward and Emmanuel Sanders.
For 49er fans, free agency won't be exciting, especially with the plethora of players on the team set to test the market. With such limited salary cap space, the 49ers will have to look for players they can get on a cheap deal or a player that desires to be on a contender. Some of these players will make for great fits, while others will not benefit the team.
Here are four free agents the 49ers should avoid when free agency commences.
WR A.J. Green
The lead up to last season’s trade deadline had the 49ers in the market for a wide receiver. Before Emmanuel Sanders was acquired, there were suggestions floating that the Niners should inquire about Bengals receiver A.J. Green. Now they have a chance to bring Green in without giving up any draft capital.
However, bringing Green in would be a mistake.
He more than likely will not be cheap and is coming off of an ankle injury that put him out of commission for the entire 2019 season. At 31 years old, it’ll be a huge mystery as to whether or not Green still has it. Of course, there could be a chance that he would be willing to sign a “prove it” deal to show off that he is health and productive. In that case, the 49ers could take a gander at him and consider it.
However, the 49ers should be looking to keep their wide receiver group young. The 49ers did bring in Sanders who is older than Green, but he was mainly acquired due to Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd being ruled out for the season. Going for older players is not what this team wants to do, unless they can get them on a cheap deal. I understand the attraction of Green because of the stigma around it. But 2020 could be a regressed receiver who isn’t worth the gamble.
CB Josh Norman
Another position of need for the 49ers is cornerback. Josh Norman is most likely going to have to settle for a low value deal, which is right within the ideal price range for the 49ers. Norman is someone they could look at, but the Niners are better off staying away from him. There isn't any upside to Norman's game anymore. The guy is washed up and hasn't been adequate for two seasons.
Not to mention his health looks to be declining as his age ascends. The 49ers are already at their maximum of older players with health concerns in Richard Sherman. At least he is able to be legitimate leader who can produce at an elite level. Norman just doesn't have the speed and would be an even worse liability in coverage than Ahkello Witherspoon was towards the end of the year. He may come at a cost friendly deal, but Norman is a player to avoid in free agency.
WR Robbey Anderson
The 49ers have already put in a lot of draft capital into the wide receiver position. Because of that, they might not feel compelled to take a receiver in the draft with the hopes that another one of their young players emerges as a quality talent. Taking a stab in free agency is a possible scenario to go at the position. Someone like former Jets receiver Robbey Anderson.
He is a player that just never hit that explosive stretch of games that was expected of him. That is mostly due to playing in an uninspiring offense, which will not be the case with the 49ers. Anderson also addresses a vertical threat need that the Niners didn't have last season. It all sounds like a strong fit, but the 49ers would be wise to pass on him. Anderson is most likely going to press for as much money as possible.
There is a chance that a contender like the 49ers could sway his decision, but even if he was available for the right price - staying away is the best option. If there is a choice between Anderson and drafting a receiver, the 49ers would be better off drafting one just because it is the cheaper option. Not to mention that this years draft is loaded with talented receivers. Avoiding Anderson is the best course of action for the 49ers.
DE Ezekiel Ansah
Receiver and cornerback are not the only areas that need some sprucing up. The 49ers lack serious depth at defensive line, especially on the edge. The bulk of the 49ers' unrestricted free agents derive from the defensive line, so they will need to inquire about some cheap options to fill the depth. One player that could be worth the dig is former Seahawk Ezekiel Ansah.
His role as a starter is long gone, but perhaps Ansah can be a rotational player in relief for around 10 snaps a game. That would be the best route to take as it'll lessen the chance of him sustaining an injury. As great as this would sound, Ansah is just another player the 49ers should erase from their minds. Much like with Josh Norman, Ansah is washed up. There is nothing left to hope for from him.
He is constantly injured no matter what. The amount of injuries he stacks up is astonishing and unfortunate. Ansah simply isn't worth the roster spot. San Francisco would be better off stealing someone from the XFL than to sign Ansah to a deal.