In this pre - Super Bowl climate if a vote was taken amongst 49ers fans as to which veteran free agent that is available would most likely be "the peoples choice"? It would be Antonio Brown.
The most efficient rosters in the league have a balance of vets, sprinkled through a lineup of up, and coming talents with a lot of promise. Ideally every team in the NFL strives to follow a blueprint that can be defined in such a way.
The need to follow such a script in order to succeed is why John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan need to be praised for being as brave as they were in 2017 to take on the 49ers project which is exactly what the team was in that year a disaster.
The first thing Shanahan did was bring in a room full of veterans players as familiar with his scheme as he could find.
Interestingly enough however, all of their contracts were written up and designed to give the 49ers an exit from their services within two years of the contracts being active.
This is why I’m almost certain the 49ers FO is following a plan that was set into place from the first few weeks of their arrival.
Veteran Earl Mitchell who was one of the first players that was signed when Lynch arrived has been released.
Even though Matt Maiocco is denying that he let it be known, I’ve a feeling Pierre Garçon really is leaving.
Malcolm Smith is most likely seeing his last days with the team as the 49ers suffered from his contract above all others having gotten very little in return for a financial agreement that nobody applauded.
Brian Hoyer failed so fast that C.J Beathard who was fresh from the draft, and classes at Iowa state U that he was still in the habit of bringing a lunch pail with him to the Santa Clara facility every morning was forced into play to soon because of Hoyer’s lack of ability to run the offense. Beathard was no where near ready to step into a starters role. I think he may still be suffering from shell shock after the tremendous physical beating he experienced for weeks with the exception of his one win in two seasons against the N.Y.Giants
Aldrick Robinson went one season and done. Tight end Logan Paulsen of whom most of us have already forgotten was most likely finished on that pass right into his hands that he couldn’t haul in that would have been a touchdown as I remember. Paulson like so many receivers was enjoying one of Shanahan’s genius schemes and in the corner of the field so free of others that he could have taken a selfie before rolling into the end zone. You could actually see the flames coming off of Shanahan’s head in the distance.
Paulson was only there to begin with because of having played under Shanahan’s guidance in Washington from 2010 to 2013. He was one of the leagues better run blocking tight ends, so Shanahan was right in kicking the tires on him to see if he had any tread left in his game. We found out unfortunately that he wasn’t going to help. He didn’t start the 2018 season with the 49ers, and cleaned out his locker in 2017.
Of that 2017 "Kyle Shanahan starter package" of free agents it seems only Kyle Juszczyk, and Marquise Goodwin will survive into the 2019 season.
Goodwin, and Juice are solid reps as vets, and should be maintained. They also play their individual roles very well. Kyle Juszczyk with his mythical arms uses those weapons to clear path for the run game which is so essential to what Shanahan likes to set up. Juice is also very solid as a receiver, at least most of the time. He has made some unbelievable circus catches especially with Garoppolo under center. They nicknamed Juice the ultimate weapon and it doesn’t get any more accurate than that. His knowledge of the game and Harvard IQ make it easy for him to comprehend all of Shanahan’s Einstein like x’s and o’s.
Goodwins original role was to drag defenders down the field behind the stream of his afterburners. Kyle and the coaching staff have been working on his route running since day one of his arrival in Santa Clara. Quise has learned well, and led the team last year falling just a few yards short of his first 1000 yard season since entering the NFL in the 2013 draft. Goodwin became Jimmy Garoppolo’s go to guy, game after game during that 2017 stretch of the final five games where the 49ers refuse to lose.
One point that I want to make to add some food for thought as to what direction the 49ers may be looking to go in the upcoming free agency period is this.
By far the weakest unit on the field save that of Richard Sherman was the secondary.
It’s also true that the front line defense was suspect on many an occasion as far as the pass rush. Teams mainly passed the ball on that unit because they were pretty tough against the run, and since the pass rush was rarely more than lukewarm OC’s game planed against the Niners secondary.
That 49ers secondary issue is what leads me to believe if the 49ers are going to spend big on a vet free agent other than a Demarcus Lawrence, JaDaveon Clowney, Frank Clark, Dee Ford, Trey Flowers, or Brandon Graham of whom are the top six of the lot, and most expensive they may go in another direction depending upon which DE is available. Lawrence would seriously tap into the 49ers funds, as would Clowney, and Clark. Dee Ford may be only a slight reduction in cost, where as Trey Flowers and especially Brandon Graham will be the least expensive. There is of course the chance that all of the aforementioned players may end up staying with their respective clubs.
The second tier of edge rushers would include Dante Fowler who has become famous for being lazy, and it must be serious because Fowler is one of the lowest ranked free agent DE on the market coming in at no. 19. I doubt that the 49ers are going to put up with that. Aaron Lynch is in Chicago for that reason.
It is also a possibility for the 49ers to pursue Cameron Wake who is now 37 and refuses to age or slow down. I’m assuming he could be attained for a comfortable price while grooming the kids the 49ers most likely plan on drafting in this 2018 draft.
This is why I’m starting to believe that Lynch and company may be seriously considering bringing Earl Thomas to the 49ers. The F.O. is most likely monitoring his recovery process from that broken leg. If they’re satisfied that he’ll be available for OTA’s I’ve a feeling it’s him, and not Antonio Brown they are going to want to invest in.
For one thing he brings huge value being on the field with Richard Sherman, and will make Sherman that much more effective as well as the secondary in general. Him and Sherman would then be in position to escort the 49ers next generation of secondary players into the future having learned from the best at their positions.
Maybe the Niners will go all out to get both Brown, and Thomas. If the 49ers are concerned with having to extend Buckner next season, and or picking up Armstead’s option, or other cash eating expirations that will need attention they may want to choose between Brown or Thomas. If that happens I’ve a feeling it’s going to be Thomas because of the effort both Saleh, and Sherman are going to be lobbying for Thomas.