The 49ers are once again entering an offseason with uncertainty at quarterback and on the fringes of their roster. It’s been a theme for San Francisco, but they’ve managed to build contending rosters consistently since 2019.
It’s understandable if anyone checked out for a bit after the team’s second-consecutive NFC championship game loss, but never fear! We have you covered to get up to speed on the key points of free agency before it begins.
Here’s a quick Q & A on the basics:
When does it start?
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Well, technically it starts Monday at 9:00am Pacific Time. That’s when the legal negotiating window opens where free agents are allowed to negotiate contracts with new teams. Prior to this point they were only allowed to have contract talks with their current team.
Okay, but when does it actually start?
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Great question! Free agency officially opens at 1:00pm PT on Wednesday. That’s when the new league year opens and deals agreed to during the legal negotiating period can be signed.
Which 49ers are free agents?
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Here are the unrestricted free agents:
QB Jimmy Garoppolo QB Josh Johnson TE Ross Dwelley TE Tyler Kroft TE Jordan Matthews C Jake Brendel RT Mike McGlinchey OL Daniel Brunskill DE Samson Ebukam DE Charles Omenihu DE Jordan Willis DL Kerry Hyder DL Hassan Ridgeway DL TY McGill DL Maurice Hurst LB Azeez Al-Shaair CB Emmanuel Moseley CB Jason Verrett S Jimmie Ward S Tarvarius Moore K Robbie Gould
What about restricted free agents?
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There are only two remaining restricted free agents – LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles and DL Kevin Givens. San Francisco re-signed RFA OL Colton McKivitz to a two-year deal. They also re-signed exclusive rights FA WR Jauan Jennings.
Cool, but have they re-signed any UFAs?
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Just two so far. Long snapper Taybor Pepper signed a three-year deal to stay with the 49ers. Veteran safety Tashaun Gipson is set to re-sign on a one-year deal. Everyone else will hit the open market at 9:00am PT on Monday.
How much cap space do the 49ers have?
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San Francisco has $6,566,041 in total cap space per Over the Cap, and $4,107,312 in effective cap space, which is the amount they’ll have left once they’ve accounted for the top 51 players on their roster.
That doesn’t seem like much money…
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This isn’t a question, but I know what you’re getting at so we’ll proceed! In a vacuum that is not much room to maneuver, but there are a slew of simple contract restructures they can do to create plenty of space to accomplish what they need to accomplish in free agency. Per Over the Cap, they can generate nearly $67 million in space with simple restructures. They won’t clear that much room because they won’t need to and they won’t unnecessarily push money into the future. They’ll certainly move some money around though.
Wait, what about Nick Bosa’s contract?
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So, Bosa is under contract on the fifth-year of his rookie deal. He could conceivably play this year without a new deal, but neither he nor the 49ers will want that. Bosa’s cap hit in 2023 is scheduled to be $17,859,000. San Francisco can drop that number by giving him a long-term extension. Their track record indicates this contract won’t likely get done until either very close to the start of training camp or very early on in camp. This will be their top offseason priority.
What’s going on with Jimmy Garoppolo?
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All indications are he’s leaving. Head coach Kyle Shanahan stated as much very plainly. General manager John Lynch said the same, but more eloquently and in more words. San Francisco will need to add a third quarterback with Brock Purdy recovering from offseason elbow surgery and Trey Lance recovering from the ankle injury he suffered in Week 2 of last season. The 49ers always carry a third QB, but this year with the injury woes it’s a much more important roster spot than it has been in year’s past. With only $889,253 tied up in Purdy this year and $9,301,434 tied up in Lance, San Francisco can afford to splurge a little on a third QB. Adding that third signal caller should be one of their top priorities when the negotiating window opens.
Is anyone else leaving?
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It sounds like K Robbie Gould is out. It’s also unlikely the 49ers will be able to re-sign RT Mike McGlinchey. Colton McKivitz’s extension is an indication of what the team feels about their chances to keep McGlinchey. Beyond that there’ll be markets for a slew of their starters like Jimmie Ward, Azeez Al-Shaair, Samson Ebukam and others, but there’s a real chance they can bring back any of them. At this point nothing is set in stone though.