The San Francisco 49ers made a few moves to kick off day one of free agency. Donte Whitner moved on as he signed a four year deal with the Cleveland Browns. They filled their need at safety by signing Antoine Bethea, the former Indianapolis Colt. The 49ers also retained Eric Wright for an additional year. Things were pretty interesting on the 49ers free agency front.
Bethea gives the 49ers a more rangy safety that can play in the box as well. He comes at a less expensive price than Whitner. The move allows them to be more versatile because both Bethea and Eric Reid are solid in coverage. This move is one that will allow the 49ers to not have to select a safety in the first round because they won’t need to get a player that is ready to start right away.
Eric Wright will give the 49ers depth at the nickel corner spot. The release of Carlos Rogers will save them around six million dollars but it would have made them thin at nickel if they didn’t resign Wright. Bringing back Eric Wright on a deal that is less than one million dollars is a wise move but they will still need to draft a corner that can bump inside and cover the slot receiver. I fully expect Jason Verrett and Kyle Fuller to be in play in the first round for the 49ers.
In other news, the 49ers have traded a sixth round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for quarterback Blaine Gabbert. This will give them a veteran backup quarterback that will have an opportunity to get his career back on course by working with Jim Harbaugh. The 49ers were likely to draft a quarterback at some point in this draft and needed to get a veteran backup.
The 49ers also gave up a late round pick in 2015 to acquire Jonathan Martin from the Miami Dolphins. This move will raise some eyebrows but at the end of the day, it gives the 49ers some much needed depth on the offensive line. Martin played for Harbaugh at Stanford University and this could be a good situation for both parties. Tomorrow marks another day of free agency. The 49ers were active today and there is a possibility that they will make more moves tomorrow.