The 2013 season ended in a disappointing way for the San Francisco 49ers. They lost to their arch-rivals and NaVorro Bowman suffered a terrible injury. The offseason is upon us and there are some areas of need for this team. Most of these areas can be filled by way of the draft but a few key free agent signings would be key to completing this roster. Let’s take a look at five free agents that the 49ers should pursue.
1) Chris Cook CB Minnesota Vikings
At 6’2″ 212 pounds, Cook fits the 49ers desire to acquire bigger corners. Cook is only 26 years old and will come at a moderate price. He is the typical 49ers free agent signing as of late. The talent is there but it has been untapped in the NFL. I liked Cook’s size and speed coming out of the University of Virginia in 2010. He was clocked in the 4.4 range and had four interceptions during his senior year. The belief here is that he would benefit from the 49ers coaching and reach his potential as a member of the secondary. Tarrell Brown is a free agent at the age of 29 year old. The 49ers can get younger and save some money with this move.
2) Kenny Britt WR Tennessee Titans
This is a move that I have been back and forth with. I personally would like to see Jeremy Maclin or even Hakeem Nicks on a one- or two-year prove-it kind of deal but they both will probably be costly. Britt, from a chemistry standpoint is a move that I have struggled with, but at 25 years old, he has a lot of growing up that he can do. I think Britt can be a very good receiver if he is finds a way to get in gear. There are some off the field issues with him but hopefully a change of scenery could help him. He is definitely a bigger receiver that could possibly help out in the red zone. Britt when healthy can be a deep threat as well. It is not a big splash signing but once again, this is the 49ers kind of deal. They would take on a talented guy that hasn’t reached his potential. If it doesn’t work, let him walk after one season.
3) Daryl Sharpton ILB Houston Texans
Sharpton is a player that was called upon to step up once Brian Cushing went down with a knee injury. Sharpton is already well versed in the 3-4 system so there won’t be any problems integrating him into Vic Fangio’s defense. At 26 years old, he is a depth signing that will also do well on special teams. He has proven that he could do a decent job of filling in at inside linebacker and we are not sure what time frame will be required for NaVorro Bowman to come back from his knee injury.
4) Nate Allen S Philadelphia Eagles
Allen is another talented player that didn’t live up to his draft status. This is the player that the Eagles acquired with the pick that they got in the Donovan McNabb trade. Allen has nice size and athleticism. He was a starter in the NFL. Allen is an upgrade over Craig Dahl and is insurance as a stop-gap player just in case one of the safeties that the 49ers will draft isn’t ready to go right away. Allen played for linebackers coach Jim Leavitt at the University of South Florida.
5) Jon Asamoah OG Kansas City Chiefs
Asamoah was a starter for half of the season but lost his spot to Geoff Schwartz. This move will give the 49ers some more depth on the offensive line and also give them a player that was once a starter so filling in for the oft-injured Mike Iupati should not be a hard thing to do. Don’t forget, Iupati broke his ankle in the NFC Championship. Asamoah is only 26 years old and has some talent but more importantly, he is a good insurance policy that could step in and start if they lose Alex Boone or Iupati.
The 49ers typically don’t make a whole lot of noise via free agency. They haven’t made any huge signings over the past few years. This year won’t be any different. They have some free agents of their own that they have to sign such as Anquan Boldin. These signings that I mentioned will allow the 49ers to get younger and upgrade at a few spots. The primary acquisitions will come via the draft. This team has few needs and a lot of draft picks. Don’t be surprised if there is some sort of trade up for a top safety or cornerback prospect.