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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Kyle Madson

6 former 49ers team should target in free agency

Free agency got a little more interesting for the 49ers on Thursday when the NFL announced a whopping $255.4 million salary cap for the 2024 season.

While San Francisco has some maneuvering to do to create additional cap space, they’re now conceivably in a position to be more active in the free agent market.

A big move could be on the horizon, but it’s more likely the 49ers will live on the edges of free agency and scooping up some players who add depth instead of trying to locate a high-priced player to plug a bigger roster hole.

There are a handful of available players on the market who are not only unlikely to break the bank, but are familiar faces that could help the 49ers in various ways.

Here are six former 49ers the team should look to re-sign in free agency:

LB Azeez Al-Shaair

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Former team: Titans

Al-Shaair may wind up getting a contract above what the 49ers can realistically afford, but he could fit in as a replacement for Dre Greenlaw as he recovers from an Achilles tear. Beyond that he could be the long-term answer to replace Greenlaw if Greenlaw hits free agency next offseason.

CB Emmanuel Moseley

(AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

Former team: Lions

Moseley signed a one-year deal with the Lions in 2023 after tearing his left ACL in Week 5 of the 2022 campaign. He suffered an ACL tear in his right knee, coincidentally in Week 5 vs. the Panthers, and ended another season early. Two ACL tears means the 49ers won’t want to rely too heavily on their former undrafted free agent signing, but he’s a quality player when healthy who could compete for a job both outside and in the slot.

WR Kendrick Bourne

(AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Former team: Patriots

This one is entirely dependent on how the 49ers operate with their receiving corps. If they retain both Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings then it’s unlikely they go to free agency for what would ostensibly be a fourth WR. However, if they trade Aiyuk or lose Jennings in restricted free agency, adding a reliable veteran like Bourne would give their receiving corps an immediate boost.

DL Hassan Ridgeway

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Former team: Texans

Ridgeway was a really good player for the 49ers in 2022 before suffering a season-ending pectoral injury late in the year. He had injury problems with the Texans where he had two stints on IR, including one with a torn Achilles in early November. Perhaps his health drives them away, but if they’re confident he can return in 2024 it’d make sense to bring him in as a rotational interior DL where his snaps can be limited.

DL Solomon Thomas

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Former team: Jets

Thomas was a disappointing No. 3 overall pick from a production standpoint, but he has enough versatility to be a viable rotational option on a defensive front that doesn’t have a ton of quality depth. It’s not wise to lean on Thomas for a heavy workload, but he can be a fine, inexpensive player who’s in for 25-30 percent of the snaps.

QB Nate Sudfeld

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Former team: Lions

Brock Purdy beat out Sudfeld for a roster spot in 2022, but before that season San Francisco guaranteed Sudfeld a couple million dollars under the assumption he’d be QB2 behind Trey Lance. Jimmy Garoppolo staying in Santa Clara and Purdy’s emergence ultimately left Sudfeld out of a job. It’s clear head coach Kyle Shanahan likes him though, and with no other QBs on the roster the 49ers may turn back to Sudfeld.


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