Niners – 2021 Free Agents

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Niners have 41… yes count ‘em, 41 Free Agents next year.

Following are the list of Free Agents. I grouped them into three categories: must keep, sign only if they accept minimum offers and who to let go.

Must Keep…

Trent Williams (LT) – $13.6 million… Fair Value approx $19 million… Trent wants to finish his career as a Niner. A must sign player. Should work out a new salary that is cap friendly.

Kyle Juszczyk (FB) – $5.2 million… Should work out a new salary that is cap friendly.

K’Waun Williams (CB) – $3 million… One of the better slot CB’s in the league. Must re-sign.

Ronald Blair (DE) – $2.3 million… He has not recovered from last year’s torn ACL. If they can sign him to a cap friendly salary, keep him.

Ben Garland (C) – $2 million… Ben is a keeper and hopefully they can reach an agreement beneficial to both sides.

Kerry Hyder (DE) – $1.5 million… Kerry had a break out year and has a career high 8.5 sacks this year. He is a keeper and the Niners should pay his market value.

Jason Verrett (CB) – $1 million… Jason is a high priority to resign. He has finally come back from multiple injuries and has had a great season.

Ross Dwelley (TE) – $750 thousand… The Niners should try to resign him as he has played very well as Kittle’s backup.

Taybor Pepper (LS) – $750 thousand… Consistent Long Snappers are actually hard to find. They should try to resign him at the current salary.

Jeff Wilson (RB) – $750 thousand… A definite keeper as he has earned a hefty salary bump. I still recall when the Niners signed both Wilson and Dwelley as undrafted players 3 years ago. So happy that both of them have worked out.

Josh Rosen (QB) – $750 thousand… Josh was the 10th overall draft pick by the Cardinals in 2018. He hasn’t yet proven himself after being traded to the Dolphins, then winding up on the practice squad for the Bucaneers. The Niners signed him after Nick Mullens injured his elbow last week. If Shanahan can develop him, he could be a viable backup along with Beathard.

Emmanuel Mosely (CB) – $675 thousand… A definite keeper and a priority to resign.

Daniel Brunskill (T) – $675 thousand… A versatile player who can play T, G, or C. A definite keeper.

D. J. Jones (DL) – $637 thousand… A definite keeper. Offer him what the market dictates.

Marcel Harris (S) – $615 thousand… Marcell is a  definite keeper and a possible replacement for Tartt.

Kevin Givens (DL) – $540 thousand… A definite keeper as he is a solid rotational player.

Keep Only If They Accept Minimum Offer…

Jordan Reed (TE) – $1 million… If the Niners can resign Reed at the same $1 million contract, they should do it.

Ahkello Witherspoon (CB) – $971 thousand… The Niners should keep him as a backup only at the current salary. Otherwise, they should let him find a new team.

Jamar Taylor (CB) – $910 thousand… He showed some promise before getting injured. Niners should try to resign him close to his current salary.

Dion Jordan (DE) – $910 thousand. Dion was the 3rd overall pick in the 2013 draft by the Dolphins. He never lived up to expectations. The Niners signed him after suffering so many injuries and he showed flashes. The Niners should try to resign him close to his current salary and let him compete for a job. Much lower priority than resigning Kerry Hyder.

Jordan Willis (DE) – $904 thouand… Jordan was a 3rd round pick by the Bengals and traded to the Jets prior to being traded to the Niners. It was a bargain for the Niners as they sent a 6th round 2022 pick to the Jets for their 7th round pick in 2021 along with Willis. Try to sign him for the minimum and let him fight for a job.

C.J.  Beathard (QB) – $882 thousand… The Niners need some continuity at the backup QB position. They should keep C. J. over Mullens and offer him a minimum contract.

Joe Walker (ILB) – $825 thousand… Keep only if he is willing to sign a minimum contract.

Ken Webster (CB) – $675 thousand… Offer him the minimum and if he signs, let him compete for a job.

River Cracraft (WR) – $675 thousand… Offer him the minimum and if he signs, let him compete for a job.

Trent Taylor (WR) – $650 thousand… Trent has never regained his mojo after breaking his foot last year. Offer him the minimum and if he signs, let him compete for a job.

JaMychal Hasty (RB) – $610 thousand… Offer him the minimum and if he signs, let him compete for a job.

Let ‘Em Go…

Richard Sherman (CB) – $9 million… Still one of the best CB’s in the league but simply can’t afford him. Drafting a CB is a high priority.

Soloman Thomas (DL) – $7 million… He was coming on but unfortunately he tore his ACL. Should let him find a new home.

Jaquiski Tartt (FS) – $6.5 million… With Tarvarius Moore and Marcell Harris being both younger and having lower salaries, Tartt will not be offered a new contract.

Robbie Gould (K) – $4.8 million… Sadly, the Niners should look for a new place kicker. Robbie has been “Good as Gould” but at 38 years old, a new, younger and less costly kicker is needed.

Tevin Coleman (RB) – $4.3 million… Tevin will not be offered a new contract.

Kendrick Bourne (WR) – $3.3 million… This is a tough call has he shows flashes of brilliance but lacks consistency. With so many good WR’s available in the draft, I would say let him go.

Tom Compton (G) – $2.8 million… Let him go.

Ezekieh Ansah (DE) – $1.5 million… Zeke was a good signing at the time when the Niners had so many injuries. But he got injured in his first game as a Niner. He won’t be offered a new contract with Nick Bosa coming back.

Jerick McKinnon (RB) – $1.2 million… Jerick never panned out as the game breaker that Shanahan envisioned. He never found the exposiveness after being out 2 years with his torn ACL. He won’t be offered a new contract.

Tony Bergstrom (C) – $1 million… He’ll be gone.

Dontae Johnson (CB) – $910 thousand… Let him go.

Hroniss Grasu (C) – $910 thousand… Let him go.

Nick Mullens (QB) – $750 thousand… Inconsistency and turnovers have cost Nick his job.

Austin Walter (RB) – $610 thousand… Let him go.

By releasing the “Let ‘Em Go” players, the Niners save $44.7 million which may be enough to sign all of the “Must Keep” players. If it isn’t enough, simply do not offer even the minimum for players in the Bubble.

Now, onto players who are not Free Agents next year and have huge Salary Cap hits:

  • Jimmy Garoppolo (QB) – $26 million… He is expensive but he is also the best option for Shanahan. There is a lot of chatter about moving away from Jimmy G. but they have invested a lot of time and money into Jimmy. He is a very good QB but he has also shown that he is injury prone. The Niners may add another QB through the draft who they can develop along with Rosen. I just don’t see them bringing in another high priced veteran unless the price is right and that Vet fits into Shanahan’s scheme.
  • Dee Ford (DE) – $6.4 million… Ford has become way too expensive given that he has been injured more often than he has played. If they can come to a mutual agreement to restructure his contract, that will be ideal. The contract must have an injury clause that is favorable to the Niners.
  • Weston Richburg (C) – $4.4 million… They may release him outright  and eat his remaining salary. But, if he can prove that he is 100% healthy and be willing to restructure his contract to be more Cap friendly, he may be worth keeping.

The main reason that the Niners must consider all options for Garoppolo, Ford and Richburg is that they must make room to reward Deebo Samuel, Nick Bosa, Fred Warner and Raheem Mostert. Discussions for big contract extensions for these impact players must take place next year. With the current salary cap restrictions which will get worse due to COVID reducing revenue, they’ll have to come up with some innovative solutions.

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