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Predicting San Francisco 49ers' Free-Agent Targets

Joseph AkeleyAnalyst IMarch 7, 2013

Predicting San Francisco 49ers' Free-Agent Targets

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    Without much cap space and a slew of draft picks, the San Francisco 49ers aren't likely to be major buyers in the free-agent market.

    However, don't sleep on Trent Baalke making a few sneaky good moves. 

    I've already discussed why the 49ers should attempt to re-sign free agents Delanie Walker and Dashon Goldson.

    I expect Walker to stay in Red and Gold, but Goldson is more of a wild card (via CBS Sports), and if he demands an exorbitant amount, the 49ers may look elsewhere. 

    Outside of the San Francisco's free agents, there are plenty of players who could help the 49ers make another run to the Super Bowl.

    Here are a few the Niners could pursue when free agency starts on March 12.

Danny Amendola

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    Of the few weaknesses San Francisco showed in the 2012-13 playoffs, the lack of a second quality wide receiver was possibly the most glaring.

    Amendola would immediately make that weakness a strength.

    The 27-year-old receiver has 153 receptions for 1,400 yards in 28 games over the last three seasons. His stat line would be considerably more impressive had he not missed all but one game in 2011 due to an arm injury.

    Although an Amendola signing wouldn't be cheap, it would be far less expensive than nabbing Mike Wallace or Wes Welker

    San Francisco could sign Amendola and still have funds to address its defensive issues.

    Other WRs who could interest 49ers: Donnie Avery, Josh Cribbs

Glover Quin

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    In the event Dashon Goldson is not re-signed, San Francisco would be in need on a starting free safety.

    Talented safeties, such as Kenny Vaccaro and Matt Elam, can be found in the draft, but trusting the last line of defense to a rookie seems too risky.

    My guess is the 49ers will sign a free agent, and the best long-term fit would be Glover Quin.

    The 27-year-old safety may not offer as many bone-crushing hits as Goldson, but he's one of the best free agents San Francisco can hope for in terms of coverage ability and potential to get better.

    The other avenue the 49ers could take is signing an aging veteran and drafting a safety to groom.

    Others safeties who could interest 49ers: Ed Reed, Charles Woodson

Phil Dawson

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    This one is a no-brainer.

    Phil Dawson is deadly accurate, and the 49ers lost two games they shouldn't have in 2012 because their kicker wasn't.

    San Francisco could draft Florida State's Dustin Hopkins or Florida's Caleb Sturgis, but why go after an unproven commodity when a proven one is there for the taking?

    Coming off a Pro Bowl selection, Dawson may be a bit pricey, but the Niners should do whatever it takes to avoid another kicker fiasco.

    Others kickers who could interest 49ers: Steven Hauschka, Lawrence Tynes

Quentin Groves

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    Did the 49ers lack depth on defense, or did they simply choose not to use their quality backups?

    Whichever is the case, Jim Harbaugh and Co. need to reevaluate how they are using their stars on defense.

    Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks struggled to get pressure late in the year and in the playoffs, and it's possible the reason they struggled so much was because they were overworked.

    The 49ers need some depth at the rush linebacker position, and Quentin Groves could be just what Smith and Brooks need.

    Groves, who had a breakout year with four sacks in 2012, would be another pass-rushing threat for San Francisco's third-down defense.

    Other OLBs who could interest 49ers: None

Aqib Talib

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    It's possible that San Francisco starts 2013 with the same cornerback trio of Tarell Brown, Carlos Rogers and Chris Culliver.

    However, I believe the 49ers should at least kick the tires on a few big-name free-agent cornerbacks. 

    Rogers' cap hit is more than $7 million in 2012, and he's not worth that type of money.

    If the Niners cut Rogers, they could spend some of the money he was owed and add Aqib Talib.

    The 27-year-old cornerback is big, fast and talented, yet he's had a rather underwhelming career.

    Maybe Vic Fangio could get he most out of him, just like he did with Rogers in 2011.

    Other CBs who could interest 49ers: Pacman Jones, Dunta Robinson

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