What's left for the 49ers in free agency?

Believe it or not, the 49ers may have picked up the best remaining TE available off the free-agent scrap heap Tuesday when they re-signed fifth-year veteran Terry Jones. Or do the names Boo Williams, Roland Williams & Lamont Hall sound better to you? That's an example of the slim pickings remaining on the open market after 2½ weeks of bidding. But some talent still is out there, and here's a look at what interest the 49ers might have in the best unrestricted FAs still available at each position.

Quarterback: Kerry Collins, Anthony Wright, Tommy Maddox, Jamie Martin, Jay Fiedler, Tony Banks

SFI analysis: After signing Jesse Palmer, it looks like the 49ers are content with Ken Dorsey as Alex Smith's backup and won't be going after any established veteran free agent to both mentor Smith and challenge to be his backup. That may change after June 1 cuts, but the only name here that would draw any interest from the Niners is Fiedler, and he still wants the opportunity to challenge for a starting job, something he won't get in San Francisco.

Running back: Anthony Thomas, Antowain Smith, Jonathan Wells, Sammy Morris, Lamar Gordon, Stephen Davis, Tony Hollings, Mike Cloud

SFI analysis: If the 49ers bring in another running back, it will be because a prospect they really like slips to them in the middle rounds of the draft. They have zero interest in any of these names.

Fullback: Jerald Sowell, Jarrod Baxter, Daimon Shelton

SFI analysis: The 49ers will be looking to the draft to find their backup for Chris Hetherington, not to mention a player they can groom at the position for the future.

Wide receiver: Peerless Price, Kevin Johnson, Dez White, Az-Zahir Hakim, Randy Hymes, David Boston, Johnnie Morton, Troy Edwards, Michael Lewis, Troy Walters

SFI analysis: The 49ers still could use another upgrade at receiver, but none of these names look like it. San Francisco passed on Boston last year and waived Morton after one season this year, so they can definitely be ruled out. Rumors have the 49ers willing to dig into their plethora of draft picks to trade for a starting talent such as Javon Walker, and that probably is a more viable option for the team than considering any of these names. The Niners will be looking closely at what names still are available at receiver after June 1 cuts, and they'll also be hoping to find a good value pick at WR in the draft.

Tight end: Boo Williams, Lamont Hall, Roland Williams

SFI analysis: Jones was on this list until the 49ers took him off it Tuesday. Jones finished last season as San Francisco's best healthy tight end, but the 49ers will be looking to further upgrade this unit by selecting a potential starting talent in this year's TE-rich draft.

Offensive guard: Tutan Reyes, Ron Stone, Kendyl Jacox, Victor Riley, Fred Weary, Tom Nutten

SFI analysis: The 49ers still are basking in their good fortune of convincing Larry Allen to come home to San Francisco once Dallas cut him loose last week. There is no need here for the Niners now that Allen is the new hoss in town.

Offensive tackle: Damion McIntosh, Brad Hopkins, Orlando Brown, Mike Pearson, Matt Stinchcomb, Todd Fordham, Ephraim Salaam, Todd Steussie

SFI analysis: See above. The addition of Allen made San Francisco better up and down and throughout its offensive line, and if the 49ers have any interest in adding another prospect at tackle, it will be in the late rounds of the draft.

Center: Jeff Mitchell, Trey Teague, Cory Raymer

SFI analysis: Allen's addition also makes the Niners' needs negligible for an experienced center. They might not even need to look for one in the draft now, especially if Jeremy Newberry continues to show progress in his rehabilitation before the April 29-30 college lottery.

Kicker: Todd Peterson, Paul Edinger

SFI analysis: After dropping $6 million over four years on Joe Nedney, it figures to be years before the Niners have any needs at this position.

Punter: Kyle Richardson, Tom Rouen, Tom Tupa, Sean Landeta

SFI analysis: Punters are a tough sell on the open market, even good experienced ones like some of these guys. The Niners are more than satisfied with ever-improving third-year veteran Andy Lee, particularly since he's still playing on his rookie contract and comes cheap.

Defensive tackle: Brenston Buckner, Sam Adams, Jason Fisk, Grady Jackson, James Reed, Lance Legree, Ed Jasper, Steve Martin

SFI analysis: There are some names here that might be able to help the 49ers. The problem is those names all are older than the team is looking for. If a guy such as Adams is willing to accept a two-year deal with the Niners – that in reality probably will end up being a one-year stay with the team – then San Francisco will be interested. This is another position the 49ers might wait until the summer before they make a move for a veteran on the open market.

Defensive end: Lance Johnstone, Duane Clemons, Gary Walker, Adrian Dingle

SFI analysis: The Niners won't be biting for any of these players, but they need to make an addition at the position and will be re-evaluating their situation here both after the draft and after June cuts.

Inside linebacker: Rocky Calmus, Nick Griesen, Earl Holmes, Chris Claiborne, Brad Kassell, Saleem Rasheed

SFI analysis: The longer Rasheed remains out there on the open market, the better his chances are of coming back to the 49ers. The Niners wouldn't mind having him back to challenge a draft pick for a backup role, but that will only happen if he doesn't get a better offer elsewhere, because San Francisco doesn't intend on paying him much more than minimum wage. The Niners are more interested in drafting an ILB than forking out money for any of the rest of these guys.

Outside linebacker: LaVar Arrington (WLB), Na'il Diggs (WLB/SLB), Jamie Sharper (WLB/SLB), Tommy Polley (WLB), Chad Brown (SLB/WLB), Jamie Winborn (SLB), Peter Boulware (SLB), Keith Newman (SLB), Barrett Green (WLB), Brandon Short (SLB, WLB), Junior Seau (WLB), Warrick Holdman (WLB), Keith Adams (WLB)

SFI analysis: A lot of these names have been out there for quite some time, and several of them – except, notably, Winborn – might be good fits for the 49ers, who need help on the outside after losing both Julian Peterson and Andre Carter earlier in the free-agency process. The Niners aren't about to go after Arrington and the baggage (not to mention price tag) he carries, but guys such as Sharper, Polley, Brown and Boulware are players the team will consider at the right price. San Francisco will pick up starting-caliber talent here on the first day of the draft, but the Niners might find themselves in much more immediate need of getting a deal done with one of these types depending on what shakes out in the college lottery.

Cornerback: Charles Woodson, Ahmed Plummer, Eric Warfield, Ty Law, Andre Dyson, Dexter McCleon, Ray Mickens, Willie Williams, Jamar Fletcher

SFI analysis: It's pretty clear that the 49ers aren't interested in paying anything near the money being asked for by legitimate starting talents such as Woodson and Law, and the team figures it can find a prospect with better potential than the others on the first day of the draft. The Niners picked veteran Walt Harris off this list on March 15, and they also have Mike Rumph back to challenge the expected top rookie pickup for the starting position opposite Shawntae Spencer.

Safety: Antuan Edwards, Marcus Coleman, Tebucky Jones, Brent Alexander, Lance Schulters, Keion Carpenter, Deke Cooper, Ronnie Heard, Earl Little, Jerry Wilson, Ifeanyi Ohalete, Bracy Walker, Mel Mitchell, Mike Logan, John Howell

SFI analysis: There's a reason most of these guys still are available – several of them have too much wear and tear and some just simply aren't very good any more. The Niners could use a legitimate starting talent at free safety, but they'll wait until June – or at least until after the draft – before they start considering veterans who don't have jobs. At the moment, the 49ers have to ask themselves: Would they rather dole at dollars for one of these guys, or simply go with a rising young holdover such as Mike Adams at the position instead? One of these guys still could be brought in as a stopgap measure for the 2006 season, but it gets more and more unlikely as the days pass.


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