Good Morning Faithful,
Here are your top 49ers storylines for Monday, March 14.
New and Notable
49ers 2022 Free Agency Tracker
It was a similar story a year ago when the San Francisco 49ers had 38 players set to hit the open market. The 49ers, and the rest of the league, were led to work with less than anticipated with a decreased salary cap as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nonetheless, the 49ers managed to retain a number of key players, including several who were re-signed to one-year deals. A year later, San Francisco now has 28 players with expiring contracts once the NFL's free agency period begins on March 16.
2022 Free Agent Primer: Top Players Available
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.
NFC Free Agency Needs
The start of free agency and the league new year is just around the corner. Starting at 9 a.m. PT on Monday, March 14, team's can begin negotiations with agents and contract signings are permitted when the new league year officially begins at 1 p.m. PT on Wednesday, March 16. Around the NFL writer Kevin Patra rounded up each NFC team's biggest free agency needs. Here's what he had to say about the 49ers:
"There aren't a ton of holes on this playoff roster, but upgrading the secondary should be atop the to-do list after San Francisco essentially played roulette on the back end last season. Solidifying the defensive backfield and adding depth up front (where much of the reserve rotation is set to hit free agency) would make DeMeco Ryans' unit dangerous in 2022. If the Niners can't re-sign guard Laken Tomlinson, that would also leave a hole on the interior of the O-line."
49ers Opt to Not Use Franchise Tag Ahead of Deadline
The 1 p.m. PT deadline came and went as the San Francisco 49ers opted to not utilize the franchise tag. A club can designate one "franchise" player or one "transition" player among its veteran free agents. And on Tuesday, the league closed the window on a team's ability to designate that player.
Under San Francisco's current regime, the 49ers have rarely opted to tag a pending free agent, with the lone occurrence coming in 2019 as the team placed the franchise tag on kicker Robbie Gould.
The 49ers have a number of players set to become free agents on March 16. View all of them in one place.