In my previous article I highlighted how the San Francisco 49ers have 13 free agents, but more specifically I honed in on the 10 who were unrestricted free agents. Amongst those 10 I went ahead and slotted them into three groups: one of those who I presumed would not come back, one of those who might come back everything being equal and one of those who should and need to come back. Those key components are special teamers Kassim Osgood, kicker Phil Dawson, cornerback Tarrell Brown and wide receiver Anquan Boldin.
Coming into the 2013 season, it was clear that the 49ers needed to improve their play on kickoff and punt coverage from the 2012 season. In came in Kassim Osgood, a player who has made his living in the NFL as a special teams gunner and a Pro Bowler as a special teams specialist. Sure enough, Osgood proved to be a big part of the 49ers being a much better team on kickoff and punt coverage as he always seemed to be near the returner or in position to bring the returner down on a return. Keeping him around for the 2014 season would ensure that the 49ers continue to keep a high standard of play on special teams coverage.
In much the similar way, the 49ers’ kicking situation was one of uncertainty and did not inspire much faith and confidence. In came veteran Phil Dawson and all he did all he did was come up big as he won a number of games with his kicking, highlighted by the 49ers‘ NFC Wild Card win over the Green Bay Packers. At one point during the regular season he also had a consecutive field goal made streak that almost reached 30. It goes without saying that Dawson provided the 49ers with much needed peace of mind and much-needed production from the kicking position. Re-signing him would be very beneficial.
Tarrell Brown made a name for himself before the start of training camp as he forfeited a bonus after his agent did not do his job of informing Brown that he needed to show up to offseason mini-camps to collect that roster bonus. Luckily for Brown, this did not end up defining his play during the season as he proved to be the 49ers’ best cornerback despite battling some injuries late. Operating under the assumption that Carlos Rogers will be released due to his cap number for 2014, re-signing Brown to go along with Tramaine Brock as the starting corners becomes a must.
Last but not least is Anquan Boldin who instantly became a fan favorite with not only his production but with the attitude. When he was the No. 1 receiver for the vast majority of the season, Boldin made sure that Colin Kaepernick was at ease being able to throw in his direction and feel comfortable that a catch would be made. Now there will be some concerns that it will be difficult to re-sign Boldin given that he might ask for more than the 49ers are willing to pay.
It was Boldin’s unwillingness to take a pay cut that saw the Baltimore Ravens trade him to the 49ers for a late-round draft pick, and many will probably assume this will be the case again. That said, he still clearly as a lot to offer in terms of production on the field of play as well as what he brings with his presence in the locker room. Therefore, by finding a way to some middle ground on a figure there should be little reason why Boldin is not back and re-signed.