FA landscape set to change, but for better?

The free-agency landscape will change on Thursday as the NFL begins a new fiscal year, but perhaps not by much. With the recent rise in the salary cap, teams won't be unloading experienced veterans at the turn of June like they have in the past. The 49ers still are anxious to add to their roster on the open market, and here's a look at the top unrestricted FAs still available heading into June.

In previous years, the arrival of June has precipitated the beginning of a significant latter stage of free agency during which teams can gain salary-cap benefits by releasing veterans with high price tags.

But the extension of the NFL's collective-bargaining agreement in March lifted the cap by roughly $17 million, to about $102 million. That leaves few teams with the need to dump high-priced players to gain cap benefits, which is sure to limit the amount of veterans who will be dumped in the upcoming days.

But at least a few attractive names figure to be released, and the 49ers will be watching. "We're going to pay attention to it, big-time," 49ers vice president of player personnel Scot McCloughan said. "But I expect it to be the weakest it's been in 10 years."

That means the 49ers, for the most part, will be looking at this same list of players, many of whom have been available on the open market for quite some time.

Unrestricted FA 49ers and former 49ers in bold
Other positions played in parentheses

Quarterback

Kerry Collins
Tommy Maddox
Jay Fiedler
Tony Banks
Shane Matthews
Jeff Blake
Ty Detmer
Craig Krenzel

Running Back
Jonathan Wells
Lamar Gordon
Stephen Davis
Mike Cloud
James Jackson
J.R. Redmond

Fullback
Jarrod Baxter
Nick Luchey
Omar Easy

Wide Receiver
Kevin Johnson
Dez White
Az-Zahir Hakim
Patrick Johnson
Johnnie Morton
Ricky Proehl

Tight End
Boo Williams
Lamont Hall
Roland Williams
Cam Cleeland
Shad Meier

Guard
Kendyl Jacox
Ron Stone
Victor Riley (OT)
Fred Weary
Tom Nutten
Tupe Peko

Offensive tackle
Brad Hopkins (LT)
Orlando Brown
Matt Stinchcomb
Ethan Brooks
Jacob Rogers
Scott Gragg

Center
Jeff Mitchell
Cory Raymer

Kicker
Paul Edinger
Todd Peterson
Jose Cortez

Punter
Kyle Richardson
Tom Tupa
Sean Landeta

Defensive tackle
Dan Wilkinson
Brenston Buckner
Jason Fisk
Grady Jackson
James Reed
Lance Legree (DE)
Steve Martin
Josh Williams
Jerry Deloach
Junior Ioane

Defensive end
Duane Clemons
Gary Walker (DT in 4-3)
Adrian Dingle
Carl Powell (DT)

Inside linebacker
Rocky Calmus
Earl Holmes
Chris Claiborne (WLB)
Saleem Rasheed
Ronald McKinnon

Outside linebacker
Jamie Sharper (WLB/SLB)
Tommy Polley (WLB)
Chad Brown (SLB/WLB)
Peter Boulware (SLB)
Junior Seau (WLB, SLB)
DeLawrence Grant (SLB)
Nate Wayne (WLB)

Cornerback
Ty Law
Ahmed Plummer
Dexter McCleon
Will Peterson
Ralph Brown
Ray Mickens
Willie Williams
Dewayne Washington
Dale Carter
Terry Fair

Safety
Antuan Edwards
Brent Alexander
Lance Schulters
Keion Carpenter
Ronnie Heard
Earl Little
Jerry Wilson
Ifeanyi Ohalete
Bracy Walker
John Howell


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