Before we get too far ahead of ourselves and wish/pray/demand our favorite draft picks, we need to address the 19 free agents currently floating off the books. Ad, this doesn’t include the pending decision to come from one Justin Smith, stalwart of the defensive line, who had a solid year at the age of 35.
The twenty are:
Frank Gore Kyle Nelson
Michael Crabtree Chris Cook
Mike Iupati Tony Jerod-Eddie
Blaine Gabbert Kassim Osgood
Dan Skuta Raymond Ventrone
Chris Culliver Josh Johnson
Brandon Lloyd Alfonso Smith
Perrish Cox Phillip Tanner
Garrett Celek Desmond Bishop
Michael Wilhoite (Justin Smith)
The obvious no-signs are Gabbert, Tanner, and Bishop. All are buried on the depth chart and Gabbert flat sucks balls. Alphonso Smith may stick around as cheap insurance. Bishop, Ventrone, Osgood, and Nelson are STers that have varying levels of importance. The long-snapper certainly stays. Celek falls under blocking TE who has done little. He’s cheap, so let him dangle.
Wilhoite, J-Eddie, Skuta, and Cook all fall under the category of solid backups. Wilhoite may be expendable with the emergence of Borland and Lynch; and Skuta has proven himself to be solid when called upon. More so than Wilhoite. Still and all, as last year proved, when the injury bug hits, backups become a necessity. So, Wilhoite is gone. Backfill in the draft.
The starters fall under varying different scenarios. Crabytree, once the season ended, removed everything 49ers from his social media accounts. A ringing endorsement of his thoughts on the matter. Irregardless, he’s never quite lived up to the level of WR that he thinks he is, and I think he wants a big fat payday. Let Dallas give him money. He won’t get what he thinks he’s worth, but at least he’ll be in Dallas. Happy trails.
Iupati is another starter who likely goes. The 49ers appear to be moving away from the road-grading, straight-ahead blocker they have been favoring in the run-heavy scheme of things. Guards aren’t as hard to find as tackles, so I think they let him go. Brandon Thomas, our supposed 3rd round steal last year, is nearly recovered from his ACL injury in last years pre-draft workout, so there are options already on the team. Backfill in the draft.
Culliver and Cox both played well, and also had off games as well. With Brock hopefully coming back at full strength, one of Cox or Cully will likely go. With the impending hit-and-run, and possession of brass knuckles cases due soon, Cully is probably out. Keep Cox.
Lloyd? Meh. Losing Crabs and Lloyd seemingly weakens our WR corps, and with Stevie Wonder disappearing after a promising start, you’d think we need him, but the hope is we can fill this in through free agency and the draft. With new coaches comes a new offense. One that can hopefully use WRs effectively.
Gore? Well, It shouldn’t be too difficult to sign him to a 2 year, $6-8 mill incentive-laden deal. His leadership alone would be a big boost to a team that is in need of some strong clubhouse leadership. the same applies to Justin Smith. The ‘smart’ thing may to be cut your losses, but with the wholesale turnover of the coaching staff, some clubhouse stability is needed. Hyde and Hunter should be back from their injuries, so it isn;’t like we will need Gore to carry the ball 20 times a game. 12-15 touches, and we are good.
That’s my $0.02 anyway. What say you?