The 49ers re-signed two of their pending free agents in the last two days. Are there more to come?
The team’s chief contractor negotiator, Paraag Marathe, said Friday “there’s a handful” of 49ers they’d like to re-sign before free agency begins March 14. Said general manager John Lynch: “We’re going to continue to try to re-sign our own players that we think are a part of this puzzle, and some of those we have to let go in free agency and see where the market shakes out.”
Here’s an educated guess on the 2018 free agents at the top and bottom of the list:
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo – The 49ers quarterback was the team’s biggest offseason priority. He signed a five-year deal averaging $27.5 million a season on Thursday.
Defensive end Cassius Marsh – The multi-use defensive end – he was a stalwart on special teams – provided a spark when he was claimed at the end of the season. He signed a two-year deal on Wednesday with base salaries of $1.1 million in 2018 and $3.8 million in 2019.
Center Daniel Kilgore – The 49ers have had discussions with Kilgore’s agents about a possible extension, but there’s no deal yet. He held off all challengers last year, started all 16 games and was named the winner of the team’s Bobb McKittrick Award, which exemplifies the dedication, excellence and commitment of the late offensive-line coach. A number of centers are poised to hit the market, including the Ravens’ Ryan Jensen, the Rams’ John Sullivan and the Giants’ Weston Richburg. *UPDATE: Kilgore on Feb. 15 signed a three-year deal with base salaries of $2.5, $2.2 and $3.1 million.
Linebacker Brock Coyle – The 49ers signed him to be one of their core special teams players, then had to lean on him at inside linebacker after injuries hit Malcolm Smith and Reuben Foster and the team parted with Ray-Ray Armstrong. Coyle started eight games and played well in the back half of the season. He had surgery on a torn labrum (shoulder) last month, which likely will keep him off the field for much of the spring.
Offensive tackle Garry Gilliam – He went on injured reserve in November with an MCL sprain that will not bleed over into 2018. If he were to re-sign, Gilliam likely would get plenty of time with the first-team offense in the spring while right tackle Trent Brown recovers from labrum surgery.
Defensive end Tank Carradine – Carradine played well at the “big end”’ spot and the 49ers likely want him back in their defensive-line mix in 2018. The former second-round pick, however, might be better suited for a pure, 4-3 defense and may want to see what kind of suitors await him on the open market.
Running back Carlos Hyde – After Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell, Hyde arguably is the most talented running back who could enter free agency. The 49ers recognize that talent and would like to have him back. But he perhaps will be more valuable to a power-running team than the zone-running 49ers.
Strong safety Eric Reid – The 49ers signaled their intentions at strong safety last year when Reid returned from an early season injury and found that his starting job had been taken by Jaquiski Tartt. Tartt then suffered his own injury, which allowed Reid to finish the season at strong safety, where he played well. Reid is only 26, is well versed at both free and strong safety and should be in demand during free agency. However, he’s also been among the leaders of the players’ social justice movement and is close to Colin Kaepernick, whom the league shunned last season. Reid has said he realizes his market could dim as a result.
Cornerback Asa Jackson – The 49ers have no clear backup for nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams. Jackson can play both that position and outside cornerback. And at age 28, he’s on the right side of 30. He might be the type of player the 49ers sign after the first wave of free agency.
Guard Brandon Fusco – The 49ers signed him late in the free-agency period last year and he played through injury to start 16 games. He’s not the prototypical guard for San Francisco’s offense, but he proved dependable last season and eventually could be added to the mix of players competing at right guard.
Cornerback Dontae Johnson – He started 16 games at cornerback, set career highs in tackles and pass defenses and scored a touchdown off an interception in Week 16. But Johnson also was picked on during the second half of the season, and the 49ers likely will use their free-agent resources elsewhere when it comes to cornerback.
Wide receiver Louis Murphy – The 49ers probably prefer someone younger at this position – Murphy turns 31 in May – but he has the size the team currently lacks at receiver. Murphy also has the distinction of catching Garoppolo’s first touchdown pass as a 49er.
Defensive back Leon Hall – He’s smart, versatile and logged a lot of snaps at nickel and dime defensive back and at safety last year. Still, Hall is 33 and was an off-the-street free agent during the season, which means he probably isn’t a priority to re-sign.
Defensive lineman Leger Douzable – Douzable is the Leon Hall of the defensive line – an intelligent veteran who can fill a lot of holes. He gave the defense a lift when he was added during the season. Still, he’ll be 32 in the spring and the 49ers already have a lot of bodies along the defensive line.
Safety Antone Exum – The 49ers are talented at safety but perhaps could use Exum for depth.
Tight end Logan Paulsen – He was on and off the 53-man roster during the 2017 season. In that way, Paulsen might be tapped in 2018 if there are injuries at the position.
Center/guard Tim Barnes – He was brought back late in the season when there were injuries on the offensive line.
Defensive end Aaron Lynch – He’s last on this list because the 49ers are unlikely to make a push to re-sign him and because he’s so talented another team is likely to be intrigued. Lynch initially made a big splash with San Francisco, recording 12 1/2 sacks his first two seasons. But his focus waned, his weight fluctuated wildly, he was injured and he had only 2 1/2 sacks the last two years.