Former 49ers GM Trent Baalke has become the gift that keeps on giving.
After signing Brian Hoyer, Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin, Kyle Juszczyk, Logan Paulsen, Macolm Smith, Matt Barkley, Aldrick Robinson, Brock Coyle, Don Nelson and Robbie Gould, San Francisco still has the most cap room in the NFL.
Most cap space remaining, per official NFL accounting:
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 14, 2017
To compare, there are teams like the Philadelphia Eagles who are so strapped for cash, they are cutting players such as quarterback Chase Daniel.
Earlier on Tuesday, NFL Network ace reporter Ian Rapoport praised GM John Lynch for not splurging in free agency.
“They got smart, tough football players and they didn’t go crazy paying for them,” Rapoport said. “And they didn’t create unreal expectations by signing the highest priced guys at their position. I thought they did fine.”
With 65 players officially on the books, the 49ers are not done spending yet. They’ll add 10 players in the NFL Draft, a handful of undrafted guys (Shanahan’s specialty), but will still probably have room for a few more veteran names. Cap room carries over from year-to-year, so by not splashing in free agency for big names, the 49ers are setting themselves up to make more aggressive roster moves in the future. It’s a smart, shrewd strategy for a first-time front office.
What’s more telling is that many of the players the 49ers chose not to re-sign have still not been picked up. Lynch and Shanahan did an excellent job of trimming some of the fat that was holding back the roster. Torrey Smith (Philadelphia), Antoine Bethea (Arizona), Phil Dawson (Arizona) and Marcus Martin (Cleveland) are the only former 49ers who have found new homes so far in free agency.
The only other rumored big name free-agent who is linked to San Francisco is former Kansas City defensive lineman Dontari Poe, who is taking his sweet time with an enlarged market. The other name that I’m hearing is being discussed behind the scenes is wide receiver Andrew Hawkins. In 2014, the former Cleveland Brown put up career numbers with Brian Hoyer and Shanahan in Cleveland. Goodwin and Robinson are the smaller, speedy guys on the roster, but Hawkins and Hoyer’s chemistry was undeniable with the Browns.