San Francisco 49ers Free Agents 2022: Laken Tomlinson and D.J. Jones in need of extensions

Who are the top free agents for the San Francisco 49ers in 2022? Will they be able to re-sign their priority free agents?

The San Francisco 49ers have a significant number of players set to be free agents in 2022. Fortunately, most of the 49ers’ impending free agents are role players. However, these are still useful players that will need to be replaced if they leave. San Francisco will have plenty of cap space once they part ways with Jimmy Garoppolo, so they should be able to bring several of these players back.

San Francisco 49ers free agents in 2022

Following the conclusion of the 2021 NFL season, the 49ers have 28 players with expiring contracts. 21 of them will be unrestricted free agents, four are exclusive rights free agents, and three are restricted free agents.

All players are unrestricted free agents unless stated.

Top 49ers offensive free agents

The 49ers have all of their elite offensive players locked up, but every roster needs depth and role players. To fill those spots, the 49ers will either have to re-sign the guys they already have or find replacements in free agency or the draft.

Let’s take a look at the most prominent free agents on offense.

Laken Tomlinson | OL

After quarterback, the most important position for an NFL team is the offensive line. Laken Tomlinson just earned his first career Pro Bowl nod at age 29. Linemen can play effectively well into their 30s. So, re-signing Tomlinson should be a top priority for the 49ers.

Tomlinson made $5.5 million last season. He is one of San Francisco’s top free agents available this March and is in line for a considerable raise. NFL general managers are quite savvy at moving money around and making things work under the cap. Even if things get tight, I expect the 49ers to give Tomlinson a nice multi-year extension.

Raheem Mostert | RB

I almost didn’t even include Raheem Mostert here. Since joining the 49ers in 2017 as a 25-year-old former UDFA, Mostert has played just one full season. In 2021, he hurt his knee in the team’s opening game and didn’t play the rest of the year.

Mostert is now 30 years old. The 49ers drafted Trey Sermon and Elijah Mitchell in the 2021 NFL Draft. Mitchell had an incredible rookie season and established himself as the 49ers’ RB of the future. I would be very surprised if they brought Mostert back absent a hometown discount.

The 49ers’ entire WR depth

Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk are entrenched as the 49ers’ starting wide receivers, and they form quite the formidable duo. Behind them, though, there’s literally nothing guaranteed.

Jauan Jennings, Trent Sherfield, Mohamed Sanu, and Richie James are all set to become free agents (Jennings is an ERFA). Jennings and Sherfield mostly split the 49ers’ WR3 role. As an exclusive-rights free agent, Jennings has no choice other than to return to San Francisco. Sherfield could go either way. I can’t imagine there will be a huge market for him.

At 33 years old, Sanu is unlikely to be a priority. Perhaps he takes a team-friendly deal, but the 49ers would be better off just replacing him with a mid-round draft pick.

James is mostly a special teamer. He has a role on an NFL team and will get a job somewhere. Regardless, he’s not a hugely impactful player.

Top 49ers defensive free agents

Where the 49ers are going to have tough decisions to make is on defense. A number of key contributors are set to become free agents. Who are the top defensive free agents, and will San Francisco be able to bring most of them back?

D.J. Jones | DT

D.J. Jones may not be flashy, but he’s effective. He compiled 40 solo tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks in 2021. At just 27 years old, the 49ers would be well served to bring him back.

Jones is an effective pass rusher as well as a strong run stopper. He just clogs up the middle with his 305-pound frame. Look for San Francisco to give Jones a multi-year extension.

Jason Verrett | CB

We know Jason Verrett is talented. He made the Pro Bowl in 2015 and was considered one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL. His main problem is he just doesn’t play football. Verrett has been in the NFL for seven years. He’s played in just 40 of a possible 113 games.

Due to Verrett’s substantial injury history, the 49ers should be able to get a discount. Additionally, Verrett wants to play in San Francisco. He reportedly turned down a multi-year deal elsewhere to sign a one-year contract with the 49ers in March 2021. I expect the two sides to work something out again. Whether Verrett is finally able to stay on the field is another story.

The 49ers’ other free agents in 2022

What other 49ers players are free agents in 2022? Some of these players will inevitably leave when the market opens.

  • K’Waun Williams | CB
  • Jeff Wilson Jr. | RB
  • Ross Dwelley | TE
  • Josh Norman | CB
  • Marcell Harris | S
  • Jaquiski Tartt | S
  • Tavon Wilson | S
  • Tom Compton | G
  • Dontae Johnson | CB
  • Maurice Hurst | DT
  • Arden Key | DE
  • Jordan Willis | DE
  • Trenton Cannon | RB
  • Daniel Brunskill | T (RFA)
  • Jake Brendel | C (RFA)
  • Kentavius Street | DE
  • Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles | LB (ERFA)
  • JaMycal Hasty | RB (ERFA)
  • Azeez Al-Shaair | LB (RFA)
  • Kevin Givens | DT (ERFA)

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