The major NFL free agency waves have hit, but there are still a slew of players available who can contribute to winning NFL teams. Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar sifted through the free agent pool to pick out the best remaining.
We took that list and went through it from the 49ers’ perspective. They appear to have a 90-man roster they’re happy with, but teams are always looking to upgrade. That’s where plenty of the best remaining free agents come in. A handful of the players on Farrar’s list could certainly help the 49ers improve their depth heading into training camp.
Here’s each of the best remaining free agents with a quick thought on whether the 49ers should sign them:
QB Carson Wentz
No. Hard pass.
QB Teddy Bridgewater
Bridgewater would be a better option than Brandon Allen, but the 49ers aren’t cutting Allen to sign Bridgewater. It’s a no.
RB Ezekiel Elliott
RB Kareem Hunt
Hunt’s productivity has dwindled during the last three years in Cleveland and the 49ers don’t need another running back. It’s a no.
RB JD McKissick
A few years ago this might have been fun given his pass-catching prowess. Now it’s a pass (pun intended!).
RB Leonard Fournette
Fournette is another player who would’ve been more interesting a couple years ago or if the 49ers needed a player who’s best suited as a short-yardage back. No.
WR DeAndre Hopkins
The 49ers should definitely at least make a call to Hopkins. Their chances of landing him are extremely slim, but he’s a good enough player that due diligence is required. Yes they should try, but no he’s not likely to sign.
WR T.Y. Hilton
At this point Hilton is probably redundant with Ray-Ray McCloud. His best years are behind him and he turns 34 in November. However, Hilton probably has a better chance of making an impact than Chris Conley or Willie Snead IV. Call this one a yes.
WR Kenny Golladay
Why not!? Golladay is coming off of three horrible seasons where he posted just 63 catches for 940 yards and three touchdowns in 31 games with the Lions and Giants. He turns 30 in November, but in 2019 he was a Pro Bowler who led the NFL in touchdown catches. If Hilton is a yes, Golladay can be a yes.
WR Sammy Watkins
Sure, throw Watkins in the mix too!
WR Jarvis Landry
Kyle Shanahan probably would’ve liked prime Jarvis Landry more than any receiver on this list. He’s not a deep threat though and not particularly good after the catch. We’ll call it a no.
TE Cameron Brate
If the 49ers are going to add a TE, it’s going to be one that can affect games as a receiver. Brate has had a really nice nine-year career, but his only years as a real receiving threat were in 2016 and 2017. It’s been downhill since then. It’s a no.
TE Kyle Rudolph
Nah. Rudolph is in the same boat as Brate. Maybe six or seven years ago when he was a touchdown machine for the Vikings. Now he doesn’t have a ton of value for a team like San Francisco.
TE Adam Shaheen
Shaheen did have 14 touchdown catches between the 2020 and 2021 seasons. His recent injury history makes him a no, though. He missed all of last season with a knee injury that nixed a trade the Dolphins had in place to send him to the Texans.
OT Eric Fisher
Any offensive tackle depth would help the 49ers. A cheap flier on Fisher who didn’t play at all last season wouldn’t be the worst idea. Yes.
OT George Fant
Fant was an unmitigated disaster in eight games for the Jets last year. Prior to that he wasn’t awful though. He would be worth a look.
OT Jason Peters
Peters wasn’t bad for Dallas last year where played both positions on the left side. He’d be good veteran depth if not for the fact he is 41 (forty-one) years old. He’s a legend who is going to the Hall of Fame someday. Let him rest.
OT Ty Nsekhe
Nsekhe has carved out a nice career after joining the league as an undrafted free agent. He’s 37, but would offer some good tackle depth if he doesn’t win the starting RT job. Yes.
G Justin Pugh
Pugh has been a pretty average guard during his career. The 49ers have some younger players who should be getting reps there with a couple of veterans already in the mix. He’s a no.
G Gabe Jackson
Jackson was a really good player for the Raiders in the middle portion of the 2010. Since 2019 though he’s really struggled to find his footing, including two subpar years with the Seahawks in 2021 and 2022. If the 49ers thought he could push for a starting interior job they might’ve scooped him up already. He’s a no.
G Rodger Saffold
Two years ago Saffold might’ve been an interesting option. He had a really rough 2022 with the Bills though and with 13 years in the NFL under his belt it’s hard to imagine he makes a dramatic turnaround in 2023. It’ll take a lot for an interior lineman to snag a yes, and Saffold is a no.
G Trai Turner
Turner has been with four teams the last four seasons and he hasn’t had a ton of success with any of them. No.
G Dalton Risner
Risner’s upside as a second-round pick of the Broncos in 2019 makes him intriguing, but he wasn’t particularly great for Denver and graded out poorly as a run blocker in all four seasons according to Pro Football Focus. That rules him out for the 49ers.
G Oday Aboushi
Aboushi is a journeyman with nine NFL seasons under his belt with the Jets, Texans, Seahawks, Cardinals, Lions, Chargers and Rams. His experience could help a team, but the 49ers have their veteran interior options on board already. It’s a no on giving him time with each NFC West team.
C Ben Jones
If the 49ers hadn’t committed to Jake Brendel with a four-year contract, Jones would’ve made a ton of sense. They’re not going to add an 11-year veteran center at this point, although some team probably should. He’s not a bad player.
C Pat Elflein
This is a no. Elflein has not been a great player in his six seasons.
DE Leonard Floyd
The 49ers definitely need some edge help, but Floyd is better served as a 3-4 outside linebacker thane he is as a 4-3 defensive end. His last three years have been his most successful though with 29.0 sacks in 50 games. It’s a no, but only because of the positional stuff.
DE Frank Clark
The 49ers have had numerous run-ins with Clark during his time with Seattle and Kansas City. He has 15.5 sacks the last three years and brings the inside-outside versatility San Francisco lost when Charles Omenihu signed with the Chiefs. This is a yes.
DE Yannick Ngakoue
Ngakoue has never been a stellar run defender, but playing him as a pass rush specialist would help any team. The 49ers should absolutely make a play here for a player with 19.5 sacks the last two seasons.
Somehow Houston keeps slipping through the free agency cracks. He has quietly posted 33.0 sacks in 61 games since turning 30 in 2019. The 49ers could use a consistent, productive edge rusher in their rotation. Yes.
DE Dawuane Smoot
Smoot is another player who hasn’t had the easiest time defending the run in the NFL. He’s been pretty consistent getting to the quarterback though. A flier on a 28-year-old who has 22.5 sacks the last four seasons makes sense. It’s a yes.
DE Robert Quinn
Quinn is a fascinating free agent. He had just 1.0 sacks in 13 games last year. In 2021 though he had 18.5 sacks and earned a Second-Team All-Pro nod. In 2020 he had 2.0 sacks in 15 games. In 2019 he had 11.5 in 14 games. Kicking tires on Quinn wouldn’t be an awful idea for a team that needs edge help. We’ll say yes.
DE Melvin Ingram III
Ingram’s best years are probably behind him at this point, and his injury history as he nears his mid-30s is something of a concern. However, he did have 35 pressures and 6.0 sacks in 17 games with the Dolphins last year. Playing him in a Dee Ford role might work. We’ll call it a yes.
DL Linval Joseph
Joseph was a really, really good player for a long time. He’s no longer that player as evidenced by his brief stint with the Eagles last year following a rough final year with the Chargers in 2021. It’s a no.
DL Ndamukong Suh
Last year was the time for Suh to join the 49ers, but he spurned them to join the Eagles. He’s been mostly unspectacular the last three years and isn’t worth bringing in at this point. It’s a no.
DL Shelby Harris
Harris’ one year last year with Seattle wasn’t bad. He’d offer an improvement on the interior for the 49ers where quality depth would be helpful. Yes.
LB Myles Jack
This would be an intriguing Sam LB option, but the 49ers already have a handful of players on the roster vying for that spot. Jack isn’t a good enough player to warrant dropping him into a crowded LB battle. It’s a nope.
LB Kyle Van Noy
Van Noy’s positional fit with San Francisco isn’t very good. It’s a no.
LB Kwon Alexander
We would’ve been on board with this before the 49ers drafted a pair of LBs. Not to mention Alexander’s value wouldn’t be maximized in a Sam LB role. It is, with a heavy heart, a no.
CB Marcus Peters
Peters has had a really nice career in part because of his willingness to gamble in coverage. That’s not necessarily what the 49ers need in their secondary, not to mention Peters doesn’t play special teams – a vital piece of the puzzle for reserve CBs. It might be worth a training camp flier just to see if he’s a definitive upgrade over Deommodore Lenoir. We’ll say yes, but without much conviction.
CB Eli Apple
No thank you please.
CB Casey Hayward Jr.
2021 was a bounce-back year for Hayward with the Raiders, but he followed that up with a pretty disastrous 2022 campaign. He runs into the same issue as Peters where special teams play isn’t in his bag at this point of his career. He’s also coming off a shoulder injury that cost him the final 11 games of the 2022 season. We’ll say yes on Hayward for the same reason Peters got one.
CB Anthony Brown
Brown is a no. He’s played just 38 special teams snaps since 2019 and he might not even be an upgrade on the CB depth the 49ers already have.
S Adrian Amos
Amos is a versatile player who might’ve had a role had the 49ers not invested in Ji’Ayir Brown in the draft. His struggles with Green Bay last year are also a bit of a red flag. The 49ers have a crowded safety room and Amos might’ve fit had Tashaun Gipson not re-signed on a one-year deal. It’s a no.
S Lamarcus Joyner
Joyner’s best years are well behind him. This will be a no.
S Nasir Adderley
Addreley was a second-round pick of the Chargers in 2019, but he never put it all together in the same season. He’s another no at safety.
S DeAndre Houston-Carson
Houston-Carson has the special teams box checked as a seven-year special teams contributor for the Bears. The 49ers don’t need another special teams ace in their safety room though. He’s a no.