Wednesday, March 28, 2012

49er Free Agency

Better or Worse?
By: Brian Sanchez
March 28th, 2012

Jim Harbaugh says it best: You either get better or you get worse, but you never stay the same.  Sure the 49ers have signed names that people know, but how much did they really improve?  Let's take a look at the new players that will be wearing the red and gold this season.

Mario Manningham
(2 years $7.38 million)

     This is, in my opinion, the best signing the 49ers have made so far.  Manningham is coming over from the World Champion New York Giants where he was a part of a great receiving corps which included Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.  Manningham will either be a solid No. 2 WR or one of the better slot receivers in the league and gives the 49ers a good down field threat.  Last year he had 39 catches for 523 yards and 4 touchdowns.  But those numbers can not really be taken in to account.  Sure he had to compete with two other really good receivers for touches, but all of them had one thing in common: Eli Manning.  It wouldn't matter who your fellow receivers are, if Eli Manning is your QB you are going to have good stats.  I expect his stats to drop off under the poor quarterbacking of Alex Smith, but I also expect him to be the most consistent wide out for the 49ers and is certainly a better deal than keeping Josh Morgan who got more money per year and more years coming off an injury that made him miss the whole season.

Randy Moss
(1 year approx. $1 million)

     Moss is definitely the biggest wild card for the 49ers.  If he can be vintage Randy Moss, the 49ers got a steal.  But what are the chances that they get that?  He didn't even play last year because nobody (49ers included) wouldn't sign him.  But now that the 49ers are seemingly a good receiving corps away from being Super Bowl contenders he is worth the risk.  And the last time he was in the league he hardly looked like someone who deserved to be a starting WR.  But he comes in with the Harbaugh stamp of approval and I have to believe if he wasn't in shape to be a starter the 49ers would have never signed off on the acquisition.  Will he only be a deep threat (if he can manage that) or will he actually produce?  Again this is directly tied to whether or not Alex Smith can produce.

Brandon Jacobs
(1 year $2 million)

     This is the move that people like and I don't.  This just successfully made this backfield older and slower than it already was.  Gore's years are numbered and people are looking for the heir apparent.  Kendall Hunter is only a change of pace back.  Anthony Dixon is not good enough to be a NFL RB that receives a good number of touches.  Jacobs is yet another import from the NY Giants but he is not like Manningham.  Mario is peaking in his career.  Jacobs is almost done and provides no explosion.  The best he could be is a back that picks up a lot of short down yardage and possibly goal line touches. Gore is still the main goal line back I have to think because he is still a receiving threat out of the back field and Jacobs is not.  But there is no speed in the backfield.  Hunter is quick, but he does not play with much raw speed.  I think Jacobs will have minimal impact on this team and still expect the 49ers to draft a RB.

Perrish Cox
(2 years unspecified low amount)

     This is a guy who was a big time talent in college at Oklahoma St.  But a lot of 49er fans are expecting him to make a big impact on this team.  That's not going to happen, not this year anyways.  He got cut from the Broncos for more than just his off field issues.  He was also not in shape and was not playing at a NFL level.  He had the talent of a 1st or 2nd rounder but went in the 5th and has never been able to get his life in order enough to focus on football and realize his potential.  The 49ers do not expect him to really be anything more than the No. 4 CB if he even wins that spot.

     In my opinion, the 49ers have gotten better but not by much.  Manningham is the most exciting new face, but can Alex Smith take advantage of having a good stable of receivers?  I'm not convinced he can.  I don't expect anything from Randy Moss, and whatever I get from him will be icing on the cake.  I see no impact from Jacobs that will make this team any more of a Super Bowl contender.  And Perrish Cox?  I'm not even sure I'll see him on the field.

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