Free Agents 49ers Should Pursue After 2022 NFL Draft

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 11, 2022

Free Agents 49ers Should Pursue After 2022 NFL Draft

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    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    The San Francisco 49ers entered May with two of the NFL’s biggest offseason questions looming over them.

    Jimmy Garoppolo was not traded during the quarterback carousel that spun at maximum speed at the start of the offseason.

    Deebo Samuel was not moved during the 2022 NFL draft despite his request for a trade.

    San Francisco’s focus between now and training camp is to find solutions to both situations in order to not let them be distractions as the 2022 NFL season begins.

    Samuel’s departure would have a larger impact on the 49ers because the team is already committed to Trey Lance at quarterback for 2022 and beyond.

    The 49ers have Nate Sudfeld and 2022 draft pick Brock Purdy to back up Lance if Garoppolo leaves.

    San Francisco is not set at wide receiver, if Samuel leaves, which is why it should explore the free-agent market at that position in case a deal gets made.

Jarvis Landry

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    David Richard/Associated Press

    San Francisco needs to pay attention to the wide receiver market in case Deebo Samuel gets traded before the start of the season.

    The 49ers' most likely compensation for Samuel would be draft picks, so they would need to find an upper-echelon wide receiver to replace him.

    Jarvis Landry experienced an injury-plagued 2021 season, but he has been healthy for most of his career.

    Landry is one of three notable wide receivers still without a home. Odell Beckham Jr. may not make sense because he is coming off an ACL tear. Julio Jones may not get a look since he is four years older than Beckham and Landry.

    San Francisco needs a possession-based receiver to complement all of the speed it has on the outside, led by Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings.

    Aiyuk and Jennings would be the top two players on the depth chart if Samuel was moved, but there is not much below them in terms of quality.

    Landry recorded at least 80 receptions in his first six seasons. He had 72 catches in 2021, and he made 52 catches despite playing in just 12 games in 2022.

    The 49ers may need Landry even if Samuel returns for the 2022 season because of how much they used their top target last season.

    The 49ers have a fight on their hands if they are interested in Landry since the Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens and a few others could use his services.

JC Tretter

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    San Francisco’s other remaining question involves the status of Alex Mack.

    Mack’s return for the 2022 season has not been confirmed, and the 49ers do not appear to have a solid backup plan in place if he does not come back.

    Jake Brendel leads a handful of internal candidates with little experience who could slide into the center position if Mack is not back.

    San Francisco did not attack the interior offensive line much in the NFL draft. Spencer Burford was selected in the fourth round, but he comes to the team as a guard.

    The 49ers could take a swing at JC Tretter on the free-agent market to solve their potential center conundrum.

    Tretter is one of the best offensive linemen left without a home this offseason. He could be a stabilizing force, much like Mack, in the middle of the unit.

    The 49ers’ concern with Tretter could be money and his knowledge of the system, but if he is signed on a team-friendly deal, he may be the right fit.

    San Francisco’s funds for a potential Tretter signing could be linked to a Samuel trade, and that situation appears to be at the forefront of the team’s focus right now.

James Bradberry

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    James Bradberry’s recent release from the New York Giants caught the attention of many teams.

    Bradberry is one season removed from a Pro Bowl appearance and has been durable throughout his career.

    The 29-year-old could be a nice addition to the revamped San Francisco secondary.

    San Francisco landed Charvarius Ward in free agency to be the team’s top corner.

    A potential addition of Bradberry would give the 49ers two solid veterans on the outside of the secondary.

    The 49ers would face a ton of competition for Bradberry’s signature, but he is worth pursuing because of how often the secondary could be needed in crucial NFC West games.