The San Francisco 49ers continued with their spring checklist on Thursday, less than two weeks before the official start of NFL free agency.
With a ton of internal free agents to concern themselves about, general manager John Lynch and Co. made several moves.
This included tendering contracts to exclusive-right free agents Nick Mullens, Emmanuel Moseley, Daniel Brunskill and Jeff Wilson. In addition to this, San Francisco picked up the 2020 contract options on fullback Kyle Juszczyk and slot cornerback K’Waun Williams.
None of these moves can be considered too surprising. Though, each one of them brings a minor storyline to follow as the new league year gets going on March 18.
An undrafted free agent out of Southern Mississippi, Mullens started eight games for the then-injured Jimmy Garoppolo back in 2018. He played exceedingly well, completing 64% of his passes for 2,277 yards and 13 touchdowns. San Francisco seems to have more trust in Mullens than third-stringer C.J. Beathard. It will, however, be interesting to see if the team looks to potentially trade the backup for a mid-round pick. San Francisco is in need of more draft assets for April.
This was an absolute no brainer. Also a former undrafted free agent, Moseley started nine games for the 49ers last season. He ultimately took over for Ahkello Witherspoon during the playoffs and played well opposite Richard Sherman. Sure the 49ers might be looking for a starter-caliber corner in free agency, but Moseley has long-term value. He’s just 23 years old and allowed a sub 75 passer rating when targeted in 2019.
This offensive lineman is an interesting case study in that it seems the 49ers had more confidence in him down the stretch than youngster Justin Skule. Playing primarily tackle in college at San Diego State, the 49ers could view him more as a guard moving forward. There’s a decent chance Brunskill ultimately takes over for Mike Person if the 49ers can’t find a starter-caliber interior lineman in free agency or via the draft.
San Francisco’s fourth-string running back throughout the majority of last season, Wilson played well when given an opportunity due to injury. The former North Texas star averaged 4.6 yards per touch and scored five touchdowns. Wilson’s future with the 49ers will depend heavily on whether Jerick McKinnon and Tevin Coleman return next season. He’s not a bad fall-back option.
Juszczyk’s cap hit for the 2020 season is going to be a resounding $6.7 million after the 49ers picked up the fullback’s option. That’s a whole heck of a lot to spend on this position in the modern NFL. Even then, Juice Check has proven he’s more than worth it as both a receiver and blocker. He’s earned a Pro Bowl appearance in each of his first three seasons with the 49ers, catching a total of 83 passes for nearly 900 yards during that span.
The first signing of the Lynch-Shanahan era back in 2017, Williams has more than proven his worth. He’s morphed into one of the better slot corners in the NFL, as evidenced by the fact that he yielded a sub 70 passer rating when targeted in 2019. Williams, 28, also recorded four forced fumbles and two interceptions last season. Slated to count $3.18 million against the cap next season, this was also a no brainer.
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