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USA Today Sports Media Group
Kyle Madson

Which of best remaining NFL free agents should 49ers try to sign?

The major NFL free agency waves have hit, but there are still a slew of players available who can contribute to winning NFL teams. Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar sifted through the free agent pool to pick out the best remaining.

We took that list and went through it from the 49ers’ perspective. They appear to have a 90-man roster they’re happy with, but teams are always looking to upgrade. That’s where plenty of the best remaining free agents come in. A handful of the players on Farrar’s list could certainly help the 49ers improve their depth heading into training camp.

Here’s each of the best remaining free agents with a quick thought on whether the 49ers should sign them:

QB Carson Wentz

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

No. Hard pass.

QB Teddy Bridgewater

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Bridgewater would be a better option than Brandon Allen, but the 49ers aren’t cutting Allen to sign Bridgewater. It’s a no.

RB Ezekiel Elliott

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It is a little strange that Elliott is still available. Regardless, it’s a no for San Francisco because Elliott might not even be better than Jordan Mason at this point.

RB Kareem Hunt

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Hunt’s productivity has dwindled during the last three years in Cleveland and the 49ers don’t need another running back. It’s a no.

RB JD McKissick

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

A few years ago this might have been fun given his pass-catching prowess. Now it’s a pass (pun intended!).

RB Leonard Fournette

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Fournette is another player who would’ve been more interesting a couple years ago or if the 49ers needed a player who’s best suited as a short-yardage back. No.

WR DeAndre Hopkins

Michael Chow-Arizona Republic

The 49ers should definitely at least make a call to Hopkins. Their chances of landing him are extremely slim, but he’s a good enough player that due diligence is required. Yes they should try, but no he’s not likely to sign.

WR T.Y. Hilton

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

At this point Hilton is probably redundant with Ray-Ray McCloud. His best years are behind him and he turns 34 in November. However, Hilton probably has a better chance of making an impact than Chris Conley or Willie Snead IV. Call this one a yes.

WR Kenny Golladay

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Why not!? Golladay is coming off of three horrible seasons where he posted just 63 catches for 940 yards and three touchdowns in 31 games with the Lions and Giants. He turns 30 in November, but in 2019 he was a Pro Bowler who led the NFL in touchdown catches. If Hilton is a yes, Golladay can be a yes.

WR Sammy Watkins

Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, throw Watkins in the mix too!

WR Jarvis Landry

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan probably would’ve liked prime Jarvis Landry more than any receiver on this list. He’s not a deep threat though and not particularly good after the catch. We’ll call it a no.

TE Cameron Brate

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

If the 49ers are going to add a TE, it’s going to be one that can affect games as a receiver. Brate has had a really nice nine-year career, but his only years as a real receiving threat were in 2016 and 2017. It’s been downhill since then. It’s a no.

TE Kyle Rudolph

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Nah. Rudolph is in the same boat as Brate. Maybe six or seven years ago when he was a touchdown machine for the Vikings. Now he doesn’t have a ton of value for a team like San Francisco.

TE Adam Shaheen

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Shaheen did have 14 touchdown catches between the 2020 and 2021 seasons. His recent injury history makes him a no, though. He missed all of last season with a knee injury that nixed a trade the Dolphins had in place to send him to the Texans.

OT Eric Fisher

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Any offensive tackle depth would help the 49ers. A cheap flier on Fisher who didn’t play at all last season wouldn’t be the worst idea. Yes.

OT George Fant

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Fant was an unmitigated disaster in eight games for the Jets last year. Prior to that he wasn’t awful though. He would be worth a look.

OT Jason Peters

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Peters wasn’t bad for Dallas last year where played both positions on the left side. He’d be good veteran depth if not for the fact he is 41 (forty-one) years old. He’s a legend who is going to the Hall of Fame someday. Let him rest.

OT Ty Nsekhe

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Nsekhe has carved out a nice career after joining the league as an undrafted free agent. He’s 37, but would offer some good tackle depth if he doesn’t win the starting RT job. Yes.

G Justin Pugh

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Pugh has been a pretty average guard during his career. The 49ers have some younger players who should be getting reps there with a couple of veterans already in the mix. He’s a no.

G Gabe Jackson

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Jackson was a really good player for the Raiders in the middle portion of the 2010. Since 2019 though he’s really struggled to find his footing, including two subpar years with the Seahawks in 2021 and 2022. If the 49ers thought he could push for a starting interior job they might’ve scooped him up already. He’s a no.

G Rodger Saffold

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Two years ago Saffold might’ve been an interesting option. He had a really rough 2022 with the Bills though and with 13 years in the NFL under his belt it’s hard to imagine he makes a dramatic turnaround in 2023. It’ll take a lot for an interior lineman to snag a yes, and Saffold is a no.

G Trai Turner

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Turner has been with four teams the last four seasons and he hasn’t had a ton of success with any of them. No.

G Dalton Risner

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Risner’s upside as a second-round pick of the Broncos in 2019 makes him intriguing, but he wasn’t particularly great for Denver and graded out poorly as a run blocker in all four seasons according to Pro Football Focus. That rules him out for the 49ers.

G Oday Aboushi

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Aboushi is a journeyman with nine NFL seasons under his belt with the Jets, Texans, Seahawks, Cardinals, Lions, Chargers and Rams. His experience could help a team, but the 49ers have their veteran interior options on board already. It’s a no on giving him time with each NFC West team.

C Ben Jones

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

If the 49ers hadn’t committed to Jake Brendel with a four-year contract, Jones would’ve made a ton of sense. They’re not going to add an 11-year veteran center at this point, although some team probably should. He’s not a bad player.

C Pat Elflein

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

This is a no. Elflein has not been a great player in his six seasons.

DE Leonard Floyd

(Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

The 49ers definitely need some edge help, but Floyd is better served as a 3-4 outside linebacker thane he is as a 4-3 defensive end. His last three years have been his most successful though with 29.0 sacks in 50 games. It’s a no, but only because of the positional stuff.

DE Frank Clark

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The 49ers have had numerous run-ins with Clark during his time with Seattle and Kansas City. He has 15.5 sacks the last three years and brings the inside-outside versatility San Francisco lost when Charles Omenihu signed with the Chiefs. This is a yes.

DE Yannick Ngakoue

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Ngakoue has never been a stellar run defender, but playing him as a pass rush specialist would help any team. The 49ers should absolutely make a play here for a player with 19.5 sacks the last two seasons.

DE Justin Houston

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Somehow Houston keeps slipping through the free agency cracks. He has quietly posted 33.0 sacks in 61 games since turning 30 in 2019. The 49ers could use a consistent, productive edge rusher in their rotation. Yes.

DE Dawuane Smoot

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Smoot is another player who hasn’t had the easiest time defending the run in the NFL. He’s been pretty consistent getting to the quarterback though. A flier on a 28-year-old who has 22.5 sacks the last four seasons makes sense. It’s a yes.

DE Robert Quinn

Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Quinn is a fascinating free agent. He had just 1.0 sacks in 13 games last year. In 2021 though he had 18.5 sacks and earned a Second-Team All-Pro nod. In 2020 he had 2.0 sacks in 15 games. In 2019 he had 11.5 in 14 games. Kicking tires on Quinn wouldn’t be an awful idea for a team that needs edge help. We’ll say yes.

DE Melvin Ingram III

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Ingram’s best years are probably behind him at this point, and his injury history as he nears his mid-30s is something of a concern. However, he did have 35 pressures and 6.0 sacks in 17 games with the Dolphins last year. Playing him in a Dee Ford role might work. We’ll call it a yes.

DL Linval Joseph

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Joseph was a really, really good player for a long time. He’s no longer that player as evidenced by his brief stint with the Eagles last year following a rough final year with the Chargers in 2021. It’s a no.

DL Ndamukong Suh

Armond Feffer-USA TODAY Sports

Last year was the time for Suh to join the 49ers, but he spurned them to join the Eagles. He’s been mostly unspectacular the last three years and isn’t worth bringing in at this point. It’s a no.

DL Shelby Harris

Michael Chow-Arizona Republic

Harris’ one year last year with Seattle wasn’t bad. He’d offer an improvement on the interior for the 49ers where quality depth would be helpful. Yes.

LB Myles Jack

Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

This would be an intriguing Sam LB option, but the 49ers already have a handful of players on the roster vying for that spot. Jack isn’t a good enough player to warrant dropping him into a crowded LB battle. It’s a nope.

LB Kyle Van Noy

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Van Noy’s positional fit with San Francisco isn’t very good. It’s a no.

LB Kwon Alexander

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

We would’ve been on board with this before the 49ers drafted a pair of LBs. Not to mention Alexander’s value wouldn’t be maximized in a Sam LB role. It is, with a heavy heart, a no.

CB Marcus Peters

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Peters has had a really nice career in part because of his willingness to gamble in coverage. That’s not necessarily what the 49ers need in their secondary, not to mention Peters doesn’t play special teams – a vital piece of the puzzle for reserve CBs. It might be worth a training camp flier just to see if he’s a definitive upgrade over Deommodore Lenoir. We’ll say yes, but without much conviction.

CB Eli Apple

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

No thank you please.

CB Casey Hayward Jr.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

2021 was a bounce-back year for Hayward with the Raiders, but he followed that up with a pretty disastrous 2022 campaign. He runs into the same issue as Peters where special teams play isn’t in his bag at this point of his career. He’s also coming off a shoulder injury that cost him the final 11 games of the 2022 season. We’ll say yes on Hayward for the same reason Peters got one.

CB Anthony Brown

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Brown is a no. He’s played just 38 special teams snaps since 2019 and he might not even be an upgrade on the CB depth the 49ers already have.

S Adrian Amos

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Amos is a versatile player who might’ve had a role had the 49ers not invested in Ji’Ayir Brown in the draft. His struggles with Green Bay last year are also a bit of a red flag. The 49ers have a crowded safety room and Amos might’ve fit had Tashaun Gipson not re-signed on a one-year deal. It’s a no.

S Lamarcus Joyner

(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

Joyner’s best years are well behind him. This will be a no.

S Nasir Adderley

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Addreley was a second-round pick of the Chargers in 2019, but he never put it all together in the same season. He’s another no at safety.

S DeAndre Houston-Carson

David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Houston-Carson has the special teams box checked as a seven-year special teams contributor for the Bears. The 49ers don’t need another special teams ace in their safety room though. He’s a no.

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