The start of the new league year kicks off on March 16, which also means the beginning of free agency for players with expiring contracts. With the decline of the salary cap in 2021, a number of players were signed to one-year deals which means that there will be plenty of talent set to hit the open market again in 2022.
The San Francisco 49ers have a number of decisions to make as the team has 28 players scheduled to hit free agency. Under the current regime, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have made it a priority of keeping a number of playmakers in red and gold, but should San Francisco opt to look outside its building, here's a look at 25 of the top free agents according to NFL.com, their free agency status, along with a note on their production in 2021.
1. WR Davante Adams (Green Bay Packers)
*franchise tagged by Green Bay
Green Bay's stud wideout is coming off a career season with the Packers, posting 1,553 yards receiving on 123 receptions (both career highs) and 11 touchdowns. Both his receiving yards and total receptions were the second-most in the NFL, only behind Cooper Kupp (1,947; 145).
2. WR Chris Godwin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
*franchise tagged by Tampa Bay
Closing out his fifth year in Tampa Bay, Godwin posted 1,103 receiving yards on 98 receptions and added six-total touchdowns on the year. Godwin played in 14 games with the Bucs after suffering a season-ending ACL injury during Tampa Bay's Week 15 contest against the New Orleans Saints.
3. CB J.C. Jackson (New England Patriots)
Regarded as one of the top defensive players set to hit the open market, Jackson has notched 22 interceptions over the past three seasons, the most in the NFL during that span. Furthermore, his 47 passes defended are tied for the second most in the NFL.
4. OT Terron Armstead (New Orleans Saints)
Regarded as one of the league's premier pass blockers set to hit the open market, New Orleans' left tackle boasted an 85.6 pass-blocking grade last season, ranked fifth in the league according to Pro Football Focus. Armstead has graded higher than 85.0 in pass blocking in all but three seasons since his rookie year in 2013, and hasn't graded lower than 80 since his second year in 2014, per the analytics site.
5. OT Orlando Brown (Kansas City Chiefs)
*franchise tagged by Kansas City
Brown landed in Kansas City last year following a trade with the Baltimore Ravens. He went on to start all but one game for the Chiefs and appeared in all three postseason contests. He was selected to his third-career Pro Bowl in 2021.
6. WR Mike Williams (Los Angeles Chargers)
Williams posted career highs in receptions (76) and receiving yards (1,146) in his fifth season with Los Angeles while averaging 15.1 yards per catch. His nine touchdowns on the year were the second-most in his career.
7. EDGE Von Miller (Los Angeles Rams)
Miller joined the Rams in a mid-season trade with the Denver Broncos en route to his second-career Super Bowl Championship. He finished the year posting 9.5 sacks in 15 games between Denver and Los Angeles following an Achilles injury that cost him his entire 2020 campaign. He also added four sacks in four playoff games.
8. CB Carlton Davis (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Appearing in 10 games in 2021, Davis allowed a quarterback completion percentage of just 57.1 percent in his coverage. He also finished the year 28th overall in PFF's player rankings.
9. LB Chandler Jones (Arizona Cardinals)
Jones, at 32, was a dominant cog in Arizona's defense, notching six forced fumbles in 15 games. He also added 10.5 sacks and four passes defended.
10. S Jessie Bates (Cincinnati Bengals)
*franchise tagged by Cincinnati
Bates played a key role in the Bengals success in 2021, starting 15 games and recording 88 tackles, an interception, four passes defended and a fumble recovery. In four postseason games, he notched six pass deflections, 20 tackles and two interceptions, including one in the team's Super Bowl LVI loss to the Rams.
The safety, who turned 25 in February, sought a contract extension with the Bengals after a breakout 2020 campaign; however, those preseason discussions did not lead to a new contract.
11. S Tyrann Mathieu (Kansas City Chiefs)
A nine-year pro, Mathieu is coming off his second-straight Pro Bowl season. The safety started all 16 games he appeared in and recorded 76 total tackles, three interceptions, six passes defended and a sack.
12. S Marcus Williams (New Orleans Saints)
Considered among the league's top young safeties, Williams has missed just five games over his five-year career while totaling 15 interceptions, 38 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and 320 tackles.
13. TE Mike Gesicki (Miami Dolphins)
*franchise tagged by Miami
One of the top tight ends set to hit the open market, Gesicki is coming off of a 2021 campaign where he posted 73 receptions for 780 yards and two touchdowns with the Dolphins.
14. WR Allen Robinson (Chicago Bears)
Robinson is coming off of a season that featured the lowest output of his career. The Pro Bowl wideout amassed just 410 yards receiving on 38 receptions and one touchdown in 12 games.
15. EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah (Miami Dolphins)
Ogbah is coming off of a career year in Miami, posting 9.0 sacks, 24 quarterback hits, 12 passes defended, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery while appearing in 17 games (11 starts), all career highs.
16. OG Brandon Scherff (Washington Commanders)
Considered as one of the best guards to hit the open market, Scherff is coming off a season where he allowed zero sacks and just two quarterback hits on 398 pass-blocking snaps. Per PFF, he's allowed just 11 quarterback hits since being drafted fifth overall in 2015.
17. EDGE Harold Landry (Tennessee Titans)
*Agreed to Terms on Multi-Year Extension with Titans
Landry is coming off of a career season in 2021, recording a team-high 12 sacks. He also recorded career highs in total tackles (68) and solo tackles (44).
18. WR Odell Beckham Jr. (Los Angeles Rams)
Beckham Jr. joined Los Angeles after being released by the Cleveland Browns in October. Between the two clubs, the wideout posted 537 yards and five touchdowns while adding 288 yards and two more scores in the postseason en route to a Super Bowl Championship.
19. C Ryan Jensen (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Jensen has not missed a game since becoming a starter in 2017 with the Baltimore Ravens. He has allowed just 14 sacks across 4,000 pass-blocking snaps.
20. CB Stephon Gilmore (Carolina Panthers)
Gilmore appeared in nine games for the Panthers in 2021 and allowed just 15 catches on the season. He also added two interceptions and two passes defended on the year.
21. OT Duane Brown (Seattle Seahawks)
Despite having a down year, Brown is coming off of his fifth Pro Bowl season, garnering a 71.5 PFF grade in 2021.
22. TE Dalton Schultz (Dallas Cowboys)
*franchise tagged by Dallas
Schultz was productive in his fourth season in Dallas, appearing in 17 games (15 starts). He was third in catches (78), sixth in yards (808) and fifth in touchdowns (8) among all NFL tight ends in 2021.
23. QB Jameis Winston (New Orleans Saints)
Winston was named the Saints starter ahead of the season opener, however, a season-ending knee injury halted his sophomore season in New Orleans. The quarterback threw for 1,170 yards and 14 touchdowns to three interceptions while completing 59 percent of his passes through seven games.
24. EDGE Randy Gregory (Dallas Cowboys)
Gregory made 12 appearances for Dallas in 2021 (11 starts) and tied for a career-high 6.0 sacks, 17 quarterback hits, three forced fumbles and an interception.
25. EDGE Jadeveon Clowney (Cleveland Browns)
Despite bouncing around over his first eight seasons in the NFL, Clowney is coming off one of his best years in 2021 with the Browns. The pass rusher notched 24 tackles and 9.0 sacks across 14 games while adding 19 quarterback hits on the year.