Here's a list of 2009 free agents the 49ers should look at signing:
The first position the 49ers need help with is wide receiver. It's been a problem for many years.
1. Antonio Bryant
This may be wishful thinking but bringing back Bryant could be a start. He could replace Isaac Bruce, if the 49ers chose not to resign him.
Bryant really made a name for himself as the best weapon at receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Last year, he caught 83 passes for 1248 yards and seven touchdowns.
The plus side, for Bryant, is he will only be 28 years old.
2. T.J. Houshmanzadeh
It's pretty self explanatory as to why the 49ers should go after him.
I believe he'll be leaving the Bengals, while Chad Johnson stays on. He's the best wide receiver option out there. The only problem is he may cost too much.
Last year was considered a down year for him, considering the Bengals had an injury to Carson Palmer and there was no other quarterback with any starting experience.
He's also about four years older than Bryant.
Houshmanzadeh did catch 92 passes but for only 904 yards and four touchdowns.
3. Bobby Engram
He's the oldest one to look at—almost 36 years old.
He's a veteran who could help out the younger receivers like Jason Hill and Josh Morgan. He's coming off a down year due to injuries. But, the previous year, he did catch 94 passes.
He would more than likely be third receiver for the 49ers—not a number one like Bryant or Houshmanzadeh. Engram caught 47 passes for 489 yards, and he didn't have a touchdown.
4. Bryant Johnson
The only other option would be bringing back Johnson, who was with 49ers last year. He will be 28 next year, so he is younger, and caught 45 passes for 546 yards and three touchdowns.
5. Shaun McDonald
The 49ers might show interest in McDonald.
He had a down year in comparison to his previous year, but that can be explained when you're on the Detroit Lions. He only caught 33 passes for 332 yards and scored one touchdown.
The 49ers, more than likely, will look to the draft, if they are unable to sign a free agent wide receiver. They could always bring back Isaac Bruce, who had the most receiving yards in a season since Terrell Owens.
The next position is offensive line, which has been a disaster for as long as the receivers have been missing.
1. Eric Heitmann
The first option on the list would be to re-sign Heitmann, who's been playing center recently, and move him back to his natural position of left guard and draft a player like Alex Mack in the first round to play center.
2. Jon Stinchcomb
Stinchcomb is a 6'5", 302 pound, right tackle who the 49ers could look at signing. He's an unrestricted free agent from the New Orleans Saints.
3. Kirk Chambers
Chambers, who's a 6'7", 307 pound, tackle. He could be signed as a back up and could move into the starting line-up. He's also a local product, after being drafted out of Stanford in 2004. So, he's relatively young.
4. Willie Colon
Colon will only be 26 and has starting experience with the Steelers. He would be a good fit at guard for the 49ers as well. He's 6'3" and 320 pounds—definitely would add size to the line.
5. Fred Geary
Geary could also be added as a free agent. He's going to be 32 but has starting experience at right guard for the Houston Texans. He measures in at 6'4" and 308 pounds.
The other option, of course, is the draft.
The 49ers are thin at safety.
The problem is that they don't have any playmakers in the position.
Marc Roman, who was a defensive captain, hasn't had an interception since the 2006 season.
1. Mike Brown
Yes, he's coming back from injury, but he did play in 15 games last year had 63 tackles and two interceptions.
He's a solid player and would definitely be a fit for the strong safety position.
2. Jermaine Phillips
The former Buccaneer could definitely find a home in the 49ers' secondary.
He'll be 30 in the upcoming season, and he had three interceptions, one fumble recovery for a 38 yard touchdown, and finished the season with 59 tackles as a free safety.
3. Jarrad Page
Page quite possibly could be considered the best prospect for the 49ers as a free agent.
He's young, only 25 years old, and he had 84 tackles last year and four interceptions.
4. Sean Considine
Considine would also be a good fit. He's going to be 28.
He was more of a special teams player for the Philadelphia Eagles, but in 2006, he did show that he could play the strong safety position. He had 86 tackles, one interception, and 1.5 sacks.
Again, the 49ers could address this need with the draft, especially if Taylor Mays is available.
With Walt Harris getting older and soon needing to be replaced, there are definitely intriguing options at cornerback.
1. Nnamdi Asomugha
There's plenty of reasons why Asomugha would love to come to the 49ers.
First off, it gets him away from the Oakland Raiders and gives him a fresh start. He's a local product out Cal as well. Right now, Asomugha has become one of the most feared cornerbacks in the league.
2. Phillip Buchannon
Buchannon, of the Buccaneers, would also be one to consider.
He's a solid corner in the league with two interceptions last year—one was returned for a touchdown.
3. Dunta Robinson
Robinson would be another option.
He played for the Texans, but he does have some injury concerns. However, he had 38 tackles and two interceptions in just 11 games.
4. Cortland Finnegan
Courtland really came on strong this past year, and he's going to get paid.
He may be the most intriguing corner in the league. For the year, he had 60 tackles, five interceptions, including one returned 99 yards for a touchdown, and one sack.
The pass defense is the 49ers' weakest area. It would help to get a younger corner to eventually replace Harris. Any of the four corners on this list would be an upgrade. However, I don't think this is a position that they can upgraded by the draft.
The next area of need for the 49ers would be the defensive line, which has quite possibly been the worst part of the 49ers recently.
Justin Smith finally came out and became the player that he was thought to be, when he signed his six-year contract last year.
Here are my choices for the defensive line.
1. Jevon Kearse
Kearse could easily become the best pass rusher to come to the 49ers in a long time—not since Andre Carter was around causing havoc in the backfield.
The only problem is that his sacks have declined. He's had only 3.5 sacks in the last two years.
2. Albert Haynesworth
Haynesworth definitely would upgrade the defensive line for the 49ers.
The only problem would be the amount of money that he would want as a free agent, considering he's, quite possibly, the best free agent defensive tackle.
He had 51 tackles and 8.5 sacks last year, which would definitely help the 49ers pass rush.
3. Julius Peppers
Peppers would be another upgrade, much more so than Kearse would be.
He had 14.5 sacks last year. The 49ers would immediately get a boost with him at defensive end.
The only problem, just like Haynseworth, is that he's going to command a lot of money.
Are the 49ers' owners willing to fork over the cash?
4. Kenechi Udeze
Udeze may be the cheapest player out of the bunch.
He played for the Vikings, and he managed five sacks and 47 tackles.
Considering the defensive line, I would say that the 49ers definitely need to try to land one of these players.
Yes, drafting a defensive end or tackle would help, but the 49ers need someone with a proven track record who could start right away.
The last area of need that the 49ers should consider free agent signing as an option for would be the tight end position.
No I'm not talking about someone to replace Vernon Davis, but someone who's been around a while and, is no doubt, the best tight end in NFL history.
He's also a local product out of Cal. If you haven't guessed it already, that would be Tony Gonzalez.
There's not really many options as far as quarterbacks are concerned, except for Matt Cassell, an acquisition that could happen in a possible sign and trade deal. But, I don't think the 49ers necessarily need Cassell, considering what Hill has shown that he can do.
The only other option that I could possibly see the 49ers making is bringing back Jeff Garcia, if he's not re-signed by the Buccaneers. It would beneficial to the 49ers with his relationship with Antonio Bryant.
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