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Six 49ers Land on PFF's Top 100 Players Set to Become Free Agents

With a week to go before the start of NFL free agency and the new league year, teams across the league are preparing to make moves for active players in the hopes of bolstering their rosters ahead of the 2023 season. As it stands, the San Francisco 49ers will have a total of 25 players hitting the open market on March 15 now that long snapper Taybor Pepper was signed to a three-year extension and the team opted to tender exclusive rights free agent Jauan Jennings.

Pro Football Focus compiled a list of the 'Top 100 Players Set to Enter Free Agency,' that includes a total of six 49ers players.

Below is the PFF staff's ranking and evaluation of each of those players:

No. 11 Offensive Tackle Mike McGlinchey

"...He is a quality starter at right tackle who has returned to form after suffering a torn quadriceps in 2021. He's dealt with various minor injuries over the years but has done well to avoid missing much time overall.

"McGlinchey is a perfect fit in Kyle Shanahan's wide-zone rushing attack, with his 85.4 run-blocking grade since he entered the league a top-10 mark among tackles. He still has room to grow as a pass protector but notably dropped his pressure percentage allowed from 6.1% over his first three seasons to 5.1% over the past two."

No. 27 Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo

"Garoppolo once again finished his season on Injured Reserve, but Tom Brady's retirement (seemingly final, but you never know) makes Jimmy G potentially the top free-agent quarterback who will actually hit the open market.

"Over the past two seasons, Garoppolo's 8.3 yards per attempt is the top mark in the NFL, and he gets the ball out quickly with a 2.53-second average time to throw that is among the 10 fastest over the span. He may not elevate an offense, but he can certainly keep one on schedule and raise a team's floor."

No. 35 Defensive Lineman Charles Omenihu

"Thus far in his career has been more of a rotational player, but he's been on a tear as a pass rusher over the past two seasons, especially after the Houston Texans traded him to the 49ers. Omenihu's 20.4% pass-rush win rate since 2021 ranks 12th among edge defenders, and his 13.6% pressure percentage ranks 24th.

"Omenihu also brings versatility along the defensive line with his 6-foot-5, 280-pound frame enabling him to line up over tackles or as a true end outside the opposing tackle's outside shoulder."

No. 48 Defensive Back Jimmie Ward

"Ward was forced to switch positions from safety to slot cornerback this season... but he quickly acclimated and put together a very strong stretch of play over the second half of the year.

"From Week 8 through the end of the season, Ward's 78.0 coverage grade in the slot ranked 11th. He's also earned back-to-back 90.0-plus run-defense grades as one of the better tacklers among defensive backs. Ward will likely look to return to playing safety, but his ability to cover in the slot is an added bonus, and he appears to still have some juice left in the tank wherever he lines up."

No. 51 Defensive Lineman Samson Ebukam

"Ebukam signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers two years ago and made the most of it, setting a career high in pressures (34) in 2021 and then resetting his high watermark with 43 in 2022 on a career-best 11.8% pressure rate.

"Ebukam also represents a fit in any defensive front, transitioning from a stand-up outside linebacker with the Los Angeles Rams to more of a three-point stance defensive end in San Francisco. Even as more of a rotational player, he can add a productive 500 to 600 snaps to any pass-rush unit."

No. 87 Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair

"Al-Shaair is in line to get paid as a free agent after teammates Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw find themselves among the 16 highest-paid off-ball linebackers in the NFL.

"Al-Shaair missed a lot of time in 2022 but earned a career-best 67.8 overall grade and 79.7 run-defense grade. It was his first season missing fewer than 10% of his tackle opportunities, and he put up an 86.8 overall grade with seven tackles and two defensive stops during a strong playoff run."

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