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Free Agency Update: San Francisco 49ers

Publish Date: 03/20/2019
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

We are now about a week into Free Agency and there have obviously been several players moving on to new teams. The San Francisco 49ers went into Free Agency with the sixth most amount of money under the salary cap, specifically about $67 million.

They had needs at linebacker, edge rusher, cornerback, safety, wide receiver and offensive line depth. While they did not address all of these needs immediately since the NFL Draft is coming, they did address most of them.

Kwon Alexander – Linebacker

Former of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Alexander brings speed and big-play ability. In his 46 games, all of which were starts, he recorded seven sacks, six interceptions and six forced fumbles. He is coming off a torn ACL, but passed his physical, and has a palatable, incentive-laden contract.

Alexander could be exactly the kind of explosive leader the Niners have needed at linebacker and was much cheaper than Anthony Barr or C.J. Mosley.

Dee Ford – Edge Rusher

The 49ers have desperately needed a legitimate edge rusher to pressure quarterbacks and open things up for DeForest Buckner. Dee Ford does just that.

Ford had 13 sacks last year and led the league with ten turnovers on pressures in 2018. He is so fast and able to get around the edge and should be exactly what the 49ers are looking for.

San Francisco was able to keep their draft picks in this year’s draft and only gave up a 2020 second rounder for Ford. They also may add Nick Bosa, which could make this unit elite.

Tevin Coleman – Running Back

While the Niners have Matt Breida and Jerick McKinnon, both had injuries last season. Coach Kyle Shanahan knows Coleman from his days in Atlanta and knows exactly how devastating he can be in the Shanahan scheme.

Coleman brings his 4.4 speed and pass-catching ability to an already talented group of running backs.

Don’t be surprised if they keep everyone and line up Coleman and McKinnon out at receiver occasionally, making it very difficult to guess and cover all of the talented skill players in this offense.

Oh, and Coleman’s two-year $8.5 million contract is a bargain.

Jason Verrett – Cornerback

Verrett has had his share of injuries, but there is no denying his talent at corner. The 49ers are giving him a modest one year “Show-Me” contract to give him a chance to prove himself.

If he is healthy, this is an excellent signing. There are a number of young corners on this team like Ahkello Witherspoon and Tavarius Moore that will benefit from the competition. They will also likely draft a corner to compete with this group.

Jordan Matthews – Wide Receiver

San Francisco needed a veteran receiver with some size and with Jordan Matthews, they got just that. At 6’3, 215 lbs, Matthews should have a role at least in the red zone, where the 49ers have struggled.

The cousin of Jerry Rice still has the ability to create separation and could play slot and outside, making him a possible X-Factor in Shanahan’s scheme. He is also good run blocker.

He was also signed to a one-year “prove it” deal, making this a great value signing.

David Mayo – Linebacker/Special Teams

At 25, Mayo is a terrific special teams player and should be a capable backup linebacker.

Other Moves

Raheem Mostert

The 49ers signed Mostert to a 3 year extension, which is great for special teams and for depth. Mostert was averaging over six yards a carry before he broke his forearm and was having a bit of a breakout season.

Antonie Exum

The 49ers re-signed Exum and he provides depth at safety.

Elijah Lee

Lee re-signed and is expected to compete at weak side linebacker.

Jimmie Ward

I don’t like this move at all, but it is a one-year deal at $5 million. If healthy, Ward is versatile and could be a decent safety, but he can’t stay healthy.

Greg Mabin

More depth in the secondary.

Moved on from: Cassius Marsh (DL), Pierre Garcon (WR), Tyvis Powell (DB), and Brock Coyle (LB – retired)

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