Another season that started off so full of promise, and yet another season that leaves the 49ers faithful bitterly disappointed—once again relegated to talking about "next year."
It's been a long, dark decade for the San Francisco 49ers .
A No. 1 overall pick that must be considered an abject bust.
A seemingly never-ending carousel of mediocre to downright hideous quarterbacks.
Each of the past four years, fans have been teased by glimpses of a team "coming together"—a dominant defense, an All-Pro running back, a fiery head coach who seems to rally the team behind him.
And each season Niners Nation is subjected to a 16-week march to failure.
It seems that the team is always faltering in at least one area or another, and once a hole is plugged, another leak springs, and the team somehow stumbles at the exact wrong time.
This year's loss at Seattle was particularly disappointing, considering the opponent and what was on the line that day. It was a clear indication that this is not a team that rises to the occasion; instead it is a team that crumbles and panics under the pressure of a do or die situation.
Alex Smith seems to play his best when there is no pressure, when he is playing from behind, and most exasperatingly—when it’s too late for it to matter.
Frustration is an emotion that any fan of this team has experienced in spades over the last several years—but at the end of each season, there is always the promise of another year to come. This is when all of the fools who become emotionally invested in a sports franchise become professional draft analysts and talent scouts.
But isn’t that the fun part, anyway?
So—without further ado—here is my Post-Christmas, Pre-New Year's, San Francisco 49ers 2010 Free Agency Wish List.
As a precursor/disclaimer for this list:
I realize that these players are all relatively high-profile, and the notion of securing more than one or two of them is unrealistic. I did exclude certain free agents who I personally feel are a lock to be re-signed by their current team. But this is intended more as a "fantasy offseason" and not what cap restrictions, positional roster size, etc., would dictate.
In other words, let's just imagine the possibilities.
Malcom Floyd, Chargers
Huge, powerful WR to put opposite Michael Crabtree . I think they would be the perfect complement to each other and would be a living nightmare for opposing secondaries dealing with both Crabs and Floyd, while having to put a capable defender on Vernon Davis.
Jason Avant, Eagles
Sneaky fast slot receiver, with explosive YAC abilities, who would replace the painfully average Arnaz Battle. The Iggles do have a plethora of receiving talent now, and he may demand a larger contract than the traditionally frugal Philadelphia front office is willing to shell out.
Elvis Dumervil, Denver Broncos
Had 15 sacks this season, and if the Broncos don’t tag him, he will probably command the most money in FA. A big splash that would actually be worth it...looking at you, Nate Clements. Ray McDonald is not really suited to that LE position in the 3-4, and this would make the front seven one of the top three groups in the league.
(For the record, I think Shawntae Spencer is going to be a good CB, but it'd be better to add one of these three guys. Or two, in a perfect, unrealistic world.)
Dunta Robinson, Texans
Better, younger, and (maybe not that much) cheaper than the aforementioned Nate Clements. The Texans could very well be franchising Dunta—but I have heard that they have problems with his character and aren’t totally committed to keeping him. One of the few things I like about Mike Singletary (this topic is for another article), is that he can get blood from a stone when dealing with character issues.
Marlin Jackson, Colts
Not necessarily better than Clements, but is a very solid No. 2 CB. I think he is underrated in terms of having the "it" quality—X-factor, "it," whatever you want to call it. Every time I watch this guy, he’s in the right spot, taking the right angle, breaking up passes with perfect technique, etc. I think he just gets it, plus he is an elite athlete.
Carlos Rogers, Redskins
There is a saying, something to the extent of get free agents from bad teams—the reasoning being that they mismanage their talent and oftentimes a player will improve when brought to a better-run organization (Randy Moss ). The opposite also holds true (see Albert Haynesworth, Cato June, Jay Cutler , etc....and Moss again).
Nobody pays attention because he's on the ‘Skins, but I think he is a top 10 CB in the NFL . Getting him and Dunta would be cause for a lengthy celebration.
Dawan Landry, Ravens
Head-hunting psychopath to put in the secondary. I know, I know, you're saying, "But Adam, we already have Mark Roman." Well, first of all, watch the back talk...secondly, the difference is that Dawan can actually cover wide receivers.
Word is that Baltimore is not happy with him for whatever reason—I think it would be a nice pickup for the Niners that shouldn’t break the bank.
Danieal Manning, Bears
As a KR/PR, or in nickel packages, this would be a wonderful addition. Not much of an upgrade over the current safeties if used as a starter though.
Roman Harper, Saints
Very underrated against the run, he also reads plays as well as anyone, which results in his less than stellar coverage skills being nicely masked most of the time. Surprised if the Saints let him leave, but they have to sign both safeties, so either Harper or Sharper is out most likely.
Atari Bigby, Packers
Not only does he have the coolest name in the NFL, but he's a goddamn animal...like a younger Michael Lewis with better coverage skills and less prone to handing out/receiving concussions. Again, surprised if the Pack let him go, but they have a solid handful of defensive players they need to get under contract, and they will have to choose who stays and who goes.
Darren Sproles, Chargers
Probably going to be severely overpaid by the Redskins or Raiders , where he will toil in mediocrity.
Leon Washington, Jets
Jets are having a pissing contest with him over his contract. It'd be nice to swoop in and invite him to come to a much nicer part of the country for more money.
It would be sweet to have a real-deal change of pace back
If the 49ers don’t spend a high (first or second) pick on a quarterback, I may disown this franchise. That being said, if I was forced to pick a free agent trigger man I'd like added to the team, it would have to be the guy I WANTED them to draft instead of this Alex Smith jerk in the first place, and that would be...
Jason Campbell, Redskins
I like the guy, always have, and you’ve gotta give him a chance somewhere other than Washington, the NFL’s equivalent to a super massive black hole, which feeds on talent as opposed to matter. Ideally, I'm hoping for the impossible dream of the 49ers coaching staff releasing all the current quarterbacks except for Nate Davis and bringing in Campbell and possibly Ryan Mallett (Arkansas QB).