INDIANAPOLIS – "Aggressively prudent" was the phrase that came to John Lynch a few weeks back in regards to his strategy for the offseason. Now with free agency rapidly approaching, the San Francisco 49ers general manager is standing by the catchy tagline.
"What does that mean? It means that we're going to be aggressive and look at everyone. But it also means that just because we have all this money, we're not saying that we have to go spend it. You want to (spend) wisely on players who fit into how we're setting this thing up."
All this money doesn't carry the weight that it did a few weeks ago. Jimmy Garoppolo's mega deal coupled with smaller deals for Daniel Kilgore, Cassius Marsh and Garry Gilliam took a large chunk out of the team's 100 million-plus in cap space. Still, Lynch estimates that the 49ers have somewhere north of $50 million (taking into account the cost to sign draft picks) to make a few targeted signings in free agency.
"We won't flinch if we think a guy has an opportunity to fit into our approach of sustained success and can help us do that," Lynch said. "We are well equipped to make any move we need to."
Some big names have already been taken out of the free agency conversation. Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry and Detroit Lions pass rusher Ezekiel Ansah have both been hit with the franchise tag. Dallas Cowboys pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence and Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson are both doubtful to hit the open market according to reports.
Despite the absence of headliners (other than Kirk Cousins), Lynch is still confident that there will be players on the open market capable of making a long-term impact in San Francisco.
"There are always good players out there. From my own experiences as a free agent, just because a guy has been a really productive player, doesn't mean he's a fit. I experienced that as a player. You've got to dive deeper. It's not just who's been productive. It's about who is a fit for you?"
Free agency is set to begin on March 14. Teams have until March 6 at 1:00 p.m. PT to use the franchise tag. Here's a list of all the players who the 49ers could potentially pursue.