5 Free Agents The San Francisco 49ers Should Re-Sign This Offseason
5 Free Agents the San Francisco 49ers Should Re-Sign
The San Francisco 49ers are currently enjoying another successful season following their trip to the Super Bowl last year. They have one of the best defenses ranked in the top ten of every defensive category, a top-5 running game and a capable young quarterback in Colin Kaepernick who seems to be made for playoff football. The Niners compiled a 12-4 regular season record to advance to the postseason, and road victories over the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers have culminated in a trip to Seattle on Sunday evening where they will face their NFC West rivals in the Conference Championship game. They will be hoping to advance in order to settle some unfinished business having lost 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens at Super Bowl XLVII.
While fans anxiously anticipate the remaining games of 2013, general manager Trent Baalke and his staff are already looking ahead to the pressing issues awaiting the franchise during the offseason.
The Niners have 12 players set to enter the free agent market in May, and the front office must spend wisely to ensure recent success under head coach Jim Harbaugh continues. San Francisco knows the consequences of mismanaging the salary cap all too well having experienced an eight-year playoff drought between 2003-10, and several big names could be parting ways with the organization in the coming months.
The Niners’ free agent list includes seven offensive personnel, four on defense and one special teams position. From the 12, these five players should be priority re-signings for the Niners’ front office as free agency approaches.
5. Eric Wright
Despite being his fourth different team in just seven years, Wright has settled in well on the Niners’ defense and provides suitable cover at the cornerback position. With a secondary shakeup bound to happen during the offseason, Wright’s experience and relatively low cost should earn him another contract in San Francisco.
4. Michael Wilhoite
Players who excel at more than one position are a valuable commodity in the NFL, and that’s exactly what Michael Wilhoite brings to the table. A capable linebacker, Wilhoite has been key to the Niners’ special teams unit and – as with Wright – his low pay grade is certainly a bonus.
3. Phil Dawson
At 38 years of age, Dawson may well be entering the twilight of his career, but he isn’t playing like it. With a made field goal percentage of 88.9 during the regular season followed by the game-winning kick in Green Bay on Wild-Card weekend, the Niners have found themselves a reliable kicker who should remain with the franchise next term.
2. Donte Whitner
In his third year with the Niners, veteran safety Donte Whitner is playing at a Pro Bowl level and is sure to be back in San Francisco next season. With two interceptions, two forced fumbles and 73 combined tackles during the regular season, Whitner’s production warrants re-signing.
1. Anquan Boldin
Anquan Boldin has been simply fantastic this year. He led the team with 85 receptions for 1179 yards during the regular season, and his play-making ability is unquestionable. The question that does remain is a question of price. Boldin left the Ravens last year because they couldn’t meet his wage demands, and the same problem could befall the Niners. If the price is right, there is no doubt Boldin will return to San Francisco in 2014.