A few weeks ago, I wrote an article talking about how the most important free agents the 49ers needed to address were their own, and keeping the team together is critical. While I still believe the 49ers will resign most of their veterans, it is almost for certain that a few guys will move on from the team. With a lot of talent this year in free agency, I am going to look at a few players who would come in and make an impact for the Niners.
Alterraun Verner, CB Tennessee Titans
If Tarell Brown were to walk in free agency, especially with Carlos Rogers’ future with the 49ers being uncertain, the 49ers would be a little short on cornerbacks. Alterraun Verner made his first trip to the Pro Bowl last year, and it was well deserved. He performed as one of the top defensive backs in the league, able to cover, and for the most part shut down, any receiver he was matched up against. He snagged five interceptions, but lets his true game come out when he gets the ball in his hands with his ability to make opposing players miss in the open field.
Alex Mack, C Cleveland Browns
I know what your initial thoughts are: why in the world would San Fran want any players from the Browns? Well, despite their long-term struggles to obtain a winning season, Mack has been one of the few bright spots in Cleveland. His exceptional skill in both the running and passing game has made him a top center in the NFL over the last few years, and if the 49ers cannot hold onto their current center, Jonathan Goodwin, Mack is one if those players who would immediately fit right in and play well. Although Mack would be an ideal fit, right now he has the transition tag on him so it is harder to acquire him from Cleveland.
T.J. Ward, SS Cleveland Browns
It’s a miracle, another Browns player who could help the Niners! Ward has been a hard-hitting force ever since his days at Oregon, and would be a perfect replacement if, God forbid, the 49ers lost Donte Whitner. Ward is great against the run and is never afraid to lower the boom when it is necessary. Not one of the top cover safeties in the league, but he is one of the best play makers today. I personally hope we keep Donte, so this is only if we can’t retain our good friend Mr. Hitner.
Hakeem Nicks, WR New York Giants
Nicks was a huge reason why the Giants won the Super Bowl back in 2011, but since then his production has dropped dramatically. Even though he failed to score a single touchdown last year, don’t let that fool you. Injuries have plagued Hakeem for the past few years, but when healthy, he is one of the most physical receivers in the league. His ability to go up and catch a pass in traffic is one of the best in the league, and could add to an already very physical receiving corps, boasting Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin.
I still believe that the most ideal situation for the 49ers would be to resign as many veterans as they can, but it is inevitable that a few will be forced to become free agents. I feel that the free agents listed above would be the most ideal fits for the 49ers, and maybe be the missing puzzle pieces to completing the Quest for Six.
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