Examining the best remaining free agents 49ers should target


The 49ers have been busy during the opening of the 2021 NFL free agency period, but they still have needs on their roster that must be addressed.Re-signing Trent Williams, Kyle Juszczyk, Jason Verrett and adding Alex Mack were at the top of the 49ers' priority list. Considering the salary cap for the coming season and what the club needs, there still are plenty of players who could seamlessly fit into the 49ers scheme without an outrageous price tag.Here are eight free agent players that the 49ers should consider targeting to fill out their roster heading into the 2021 season.

8 photos

Position: Tight End
Age: 30
Accrued seasons: 7
Previous teams: Washington Football Team, 49ers

The 49ers have re-signed several of their own since free agency began, and another that would make sense is Jordan Reed. Kyle Shanahan clearly values experience in his system along with high character players in the locker room.

Reed fits all of the above criteria and brings veteran leadership to the offense. While the seven-year tight end missed six games due to injury in 2020, he could be an affordable and reliable addition to the offense.

With George Kittle, Ross Dwelley and Charlie Woerner set to return in 2021, Reed adds even more playmaking ability. The most impressive part of Reed’s 26 receptions for 231 yards and four touchdowns in 2020 was his ability to make multiple catches with passes thrown at the edge of his catch radius.

Reed’s one-year deal for 2020 was worth $1.05 million, which likely makes him affordable for 2021. The 49ers are an attractive landing spot for the veteran, who already knows the offensive system and would be joining a contender.


Position: Wide Receiver
Age: 35
Accrued seasons: 12
Previous teams: St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions

As a head coach, Kyle Shanahan never has had a true slot receiver. Plans for Trent Taylor to assume that role never panned out due to injury, but that doesn’t mean the offensive mastermind has stopped looking. 

Danny Amendola could provide experience and leadership to the young wide receivers room while also adding a new offensive weapon to the scheme. The 12-year veteran has played for four different franchises and has been productive with all of them. 

With Wes Welker as the position coach, the two slot receivers would be a priceless resource for the offense and Shanahan. The 35-year old receiver is projected to earn a $5 million salary, and the 49ers likely are an attractive landing spot for Amendola as an expected contender. 

Amendola spent five seasons with the Patriots, where he was the most productive in his career, catching 70.3 percent of his targets in New England. Amendola also adds value as a special teams contributor where he has been used as a returner. 


Position: Running back 
Age: 29
Accrued seasons: 7
Previous teams: New England Patriots

Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson are set to resume their roles as the predominant ball carriers in the 49ers run game. The club also has JaMycal Hasty and Austin Walter as rotational backs but adding depth with a talented pass-catching back would be a logical move. 

James White is a dual-threat running back that could add the dynamic that Kyle Shanahan was hoping to see from Jerick McKinnon. In his seven seasons with the Patriots, White actually has recorded more receptions (369) than carries (309).
White is projected to earn $5 million per season, which is more than what Mostert is set to make in 2021 ($2.975 million in base salary) but if he is still available later in free agency, his price tag could go down. 

Being a skilled route runner is valued by Shanahan. White also makes the most of every opportunity, averaging 8.4 yards after the catch. The most shocking aspect about the former Wisconsin Badger's YAC stat is that the average distance the ball traveled before he caught it last season was minus-0.7 yards. 


Position: Wide Receiver
Age: 28
Accrued seasons: 7
Previous teams: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens

Another option as a true slot receiver for the 49ers is Willie Snead. Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk will receive the lion’s share of the targets, but the veteran receiver offers another element that could expand what Kyle Shanahan could scheme on the offense. 
In his seven NFL seasons, Snead has caught 275 passes for 3,393 yards and 16 touchdowns lined up predominantly in the slot. The seven-year veteran would also provide leadership and experience to the young receiver group that flourished when Emmanuel Sanders arrived in the middle of the 2019 season. 

Snead’s last contract with the Ravens was a one-year, $6 million extension that ended a three-year stint in Baltimore. The seven-year veteran could be looking for his new home to be a contender, which could make him more willing to agree to a team-friendly contract.  


Position: Safety
Age: 28
Accrued seasons: 7 
Previous teams: Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Chargers, Arizona Cardinals

One of the glaring needs on the 49ers' defense is depth on their secondary, and Tre Boston would offer leadership and experience to the group. The former Panther safety is coming off a productive stint having returned to the team that drafted him in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. 

Boston’s Pro Football Focus grades took a hit in 2020, but it could be from switching back and forth from playing in the box and back out at free safety where he has been more productive. The seven-year vet would likely benefit from playing alongside Jimmie Ward and Fred Warner. 

Over his seven-year career in the NFL, Boston has recorded 15 career interceptions, three quarterback sacks and 429 total tackles. The journeyman defender is projected to make a little over $2 million per year, which would make him an affordable addition to the 49ers secondary.


Position: Cornerback 
Age: 28
Accrued seasons: 5
Previous teams: Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets

If the 49ers are unable to re-sign K’Waun Williams, Brian Poole is another option at cornerback who has been very effective in the slot. The five-year veteran crossed paths with Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta when he first entered the league.

Poole has graded in the top tier of Pro Football Focus slot corners since joining the Jets which might make his price tag a little higher than the 49ers ultimately want to spend, but he would immediately be a factor on the field. 

Over his five seasons in the NFL Poole has snagged seven interceptions, broken up 31 passes while also registering 299 total tackles, 227 of which were solo. 

The former Florida Gator is scheduled to make an annual salary of $6 million, which might put him out of the 49ers' price range, but you can’t argue with the notion that you get what you pay for. 


Position: Defensive lineman
Age: 29
Accrued seasons: 6
Previous teams: New York Jets, Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, 49ers

Kerry Hyder was one of the best values on the field for the 49ers in 2020. The defensive lineman led the team with 8.5 sacks after signing a one-year, $1.5 million deal. The original plan was simply for him to provide depth as a rotational player. 

In his sixth season in the league, the former Texas Tech Red Raider posted a career-best Pro Football Focus grade of 68.6 as a result of his 55 total quarterback pressures. He appeared in all 16 games registering 10 tackles for a loss and 18 quarterback hits. 

Hyder is projected to make much more than his 2020 salary after his standout season with a cap number of $4.5 million. The New York Jets might have more cap space to play with, but if Robert Saleh can’t lure Hyder to the East Coast, the 49ers should make a move to re-sign the lineman. 


Position: Cornerback 
Age: 29
Accrued seasons: 6
Previous teams: Cleveland Browns, 49ers

One of Kyle Shanahan’s favorite players on the defensive side of the ball is K’Waun Williams. The undrafted free agent has been underrated nearly his entire football career but the 49ers head coach knows what the savvy slot corner is capable of. 

Williams is a likely target for Robert Saleh and the New York Jets to poach, but the 49ers would be wise to make a run to keep the 29-year old defender in the Bay Area. Even though the New Jersey native only appeared in eight games in the 2020 season, his value is already known. 

Over the last two seasons, according to Pro Football Focus, Williams has allowed just one touchdown on 99 targets and registered four quarterback sacks. His athleticism is so well respected by the 49ers' defensive staff that the “shark blitz” was created and features the slot corner as "the shark." 

Williams is projected to earn an annual salary of $4 million, which makes him a reasonable target for the 49ers but they might have to outbid their former defensive coordinator to keep the Pittsburgh product on the West Coast. 

Contact Us