4 Veterans 49ers Must Part with Before 2014 Season
As expected, the first few days of free agency have become quite chaotic. The San Francisco 49ers usually hang back while the chaos ensues, but for the first time in quite a few years, they were rather active in the opening of free agency.
In fact, they were active in free agency and the trade market.
General manager Trent Baalke didn't wait to the back end of free agency to find replacements for lost players. In trading for quarterback Blaine Gabbert and offensive tackle Jonathan Martin and signing Antoine Bethea, per ESPN, the 49ers found themselves on the front page of free agency.
With this front office, sometimes you just never know. The Anquan Boldin trade from last season is a perfect example of the front office's sneaky tendencies.
As Baalke works to shape this roster, what does this mean for the 49ers veterans?
Well, the 49ers will need to see the results of both free agency and the draft before making necessary cuts. However, as we saw with Carlos Rogers, these things can happen at any moment.
Here are four veteran players the 49ers should set free.
Jonathan Goodwin, Center
Daniel Kilgore's three-year extension all but locked up the notion that Jonathan Goodwin will not return to the 49ers in 2014. In all honesty, this should have occurred last season.
Goodwin's 2012 performance saved his job this year, but the writing was on the wall. With Goodwin at the ripe age of 35, can you blame the 49ers for turning to the younger Kilgore?
I've always been high on him as a young and upcoming prospect. I'm surprised it took this long for Kilgore to see the field. He has the strength and athleticism to anchor the position for the next five to six years.
Baalke will bring in veteran help for the sake of competition, but I expect Kilgore to be the starting center in 2014.
Adam Snyder, OT/OG
The 49ers' acquisition of Jonathan Martin will put Adam Snyder on the roster bubble in training camp. Trent Baalke swung a trade with the Miami Dolphins to acquire Martin for a conditional seventh-round selection.
If Martin makes the 53-man roster, the 49ers will give up a seventh-round selection. This is a great move by Baalke and the front office.
This move gives the team some youth and potential at the backup lineman position. Remember, Martin was once a second-round draft pick.
Even better, he is already familiar with the 49ers offense. He was coached by Jim Harbaugh for several years at Stanford University.
Adam Snyder brought versatility as a swing tackle and backup guard, but his play last season was subpar, to say the least. He was considered a solid run-blocker, but his efforts in that area took a dive in 2013. Not to mention, he is weak as a pass-blocker.
I wouldn't count on Snyder making the 53-man roster for the upcoming season.
Craig Dahl, Safety
Craig Dahl recently took a pay cut in the hope of making the 49ers roster this season. While admirable, I'm sure the 49ers can find a better replacement in the NFL draft or free agency.
Now, he does bring some special teams value, which helps his cause; however, can the 49ers rely on the veteran safety in the event of an injury to Eric Reid or newcomer Antoine Bethea?
Dahl is a solid thumper in the middle of the field, but his coverage skills are average at best. He can't cover tight ends and is a liability in deep coverage.
Even worse, the 49ers could look to the draft for depth at both safety and corner. It's also understood that Baalke has a great track record with defensive backs in the draft.
If Dahl is cut, the decision will likely come sometime during training camp.
Tarell Brown, Cornerback
Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee first reported that the 49ers and Tarell Brown are having "ongoing conversations." It was later reported by Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area that Brown said "nothing" when asked about his talks with the 49ers in securing a long-term extension.
Familiar sources be damned, I'm going to trust Brown on this one.
What does this mean for Brown in a red-and-gold uniform? Well, it doesn't look good at the moment.
Remember, negotiations have been ongoing since the beginning of last season. It seems both sides want to get a deal done, but at what cost?
At age 29, this will likely be Brown's last chance to score a sizable extension. If I were him, I would continue to test the market in free agency in the hope of suckering a desperate team to shell out big bucks.
Why not? There's a reason why some unofficially pen the NFL as the "not for long" league.
Brown is due a raise, but the 49ers are not desperate. Yes, they need depth at cornerback, but if Brown wants to return, it will be at Baalke’s price.
The first two days of free agency have come and gone for Brown, which could open the door for the 49ers. Time will tell if some desperate team will step up to the plate.
If I were Baalke, I would just move on. Brown is an underrated corner, but the 49ers would be unwise to give him a top-level contract.
The NFL draft is deep at the corner position, and the 49ers possess a boatload of picks. They should find a cheap veteran defensive back or two in free agency and use the draft to supplement the talent that is already on the team.
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