The 49ers threw themselves into the opening Free Agency scrum with vigor, swapping out departing SS Donte Whitner with SS Antoine Bethea, trading low round draft picks for backup QB Blaine Gabbert and reclamation project Olineman Jonathan Martin, and re-signing CB Eric Wright, who also qualifies as a reclamation project. This was all in the first few hours Tuesday afternoon, and nothing has happened since.
The early activity was unusual for the team. The following inactivity was normal. GM Trent Baalke generally doesn’t begin his shopping tour until a week or two into the FA period. The Bethea for Whitner move was not an upgrade per se, but kept the team from having either Craig Dahl or a Black Hole in our 2014 secondary — take your pick which of these two options would be better or worse.
There was probably more excitement for 49er fans watching the Seattle players bailing out and finding new homes, especially guys from their defensive line. Denver made a lot of noise with two big FA signings — CB Aqib Talib and Dallas pass rusher Demarcus Ware. This seems to be an attempt to fool Denver fans into thinking that a little better defense would have made the team competitive against Seattle. Or any of the other three teams in the NFC West, all of whom Denver has to play in 2014.
The 49ers are currently kicking the tires on WRs and slot CBs. Anything else they do between now and the Draft would be a surprise, but not a very big one. Mild, I would say. Trending toward “so what?” or “Zzzzzz.”
Free agency was a lot more fun when the team basically stunk. There were no salary cap issues because there were no players decent enough to draw any kind of paycheck, let alone a big one. Back in the Nate Clements era. Headline material. Not the small transaction wire stuff of the past few years.
Actually, there’s some sort of unwritten law at work here: teams that make big news in Free Agency never win Super Bowls. All they win is a few more butts in the seats for the following season.
49er FA Tarell Brown has not signed with another team yet, which means no one thinks he’s a super duper top tier CB. Sorry, Tarell. Let’s move down the ladder to 2nd tier CB and maybe next week you’ll get a modest raise from the Buffalo Bills. Or you could try the Dashon Goldson menu selection and slink back on a one year deal and try to break the bank again next year, when the salary cap increases by another $10 million.
Just remember fellas, it’s not about the money. It’s about respect. (Cue the laugh track)