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Matt Maiocco breaks down what position the 49ers will prioritize most in free agency

© Kirby Lee | 2023 Feb 28

The 49ers have 22 players about to hit restricted free agency next week. While some will certainly be retained, a number of the higher profile ones — Jimmie Ward, Jimmy Garoppolo, Mike McGlinchey, Robbie Gould — are expected to be headed elsewhere.

A number of the prospective free agents are on the defensive line, including Samson Ebukam, Hassan Ridgeway, Kerry Hyder, Maurice Hurst, Jordan Willis, Kevin Givens, Charles Omenihu.

It’s the primary position Matt Maiocco expects San Francisco to address this offseason, both when it comes to retaining players and adding new ones.

“I would say that the defensive line, if it’s not the first position they address, it will be the position they address the most,” Maiocco told Papa & Crowley on Friday. “They like to have 10, 11, 12 guys who are NFL players at that position, and all those guys can play.”

This first decision will be what to do with Charles Omenihu, the edge rusher opposite from Nick Bosa who had a career year but is also facing domestic violence allegations. Depending on how that situation plays out, he could be a player who is back in the Red & Gold next year.

“They don’t have too many of those guys under contract, so probably one of the moves is trying to figure out what’s going on with Charles Omenihu,” Maiocco said. “If things are looking good there on a legal front, that’s a guy the 49ers would certainly want to have back. He put enough good film out there that he could get some attention. Samson Ebukaum, I think they need to upgrade. They need to upgrade the defensive end, the edge rusher on the other side, to be able take advantage of the things that Nick Bosa brings to the team, including being the guy who attracts all the attention.”

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