After a disastrous 2015 season for the San Francisco 49ers, the roster became exposed of its vital, and many, flaws — their 5-11 record resulted in the Red and Gold finishing the season at the bottom of the NFC West table, something which hadn’t happened since 2005. While other teams have made aggressive pushes to sign free agents, general manager Trent Baalke has sat back and watched, something newly minted head coach Chip Kelly has no quarrels with, and spoke about during Stanford’s pro day on Thursday.
To date, Baalke has signed only two free agents — backup quarterback Thad Lewis, and guard Zane Beadles.
“I just think you’ve got to look at who fits and who’s the right fit for your organization,” Kelly said. “Our guys do a great job of targeting what we want the San Francisco 49ers to be.”
Baalke, and Paraag Marathe, who manages the team’s salary cap and is responsible for contract negotiations, had over $60 million available to spend on players at their disposal when free agency kicked off at the beginning of the month. Kelly said he thinks the two have displayed great discipline in holding back, and he has no doubts they are completely conscious of what they are doing.
“Trent, Paraag and those guys had a great plan going into it, in terms of how they looked at it,” Kelly said. “I think some of it goes crazy right at the beginning.
Kelly said there are several factors you must consider when signing a new player, including how he fits into the salary structure, something which has already been cemented for the team. For example, of the 99 players who were signed during the first three days of free agency, only 10 of them have made an initial Pro Bowl roster. In 2015, only three of those players made initial Pro Bowl rosters.
“Are we going to take this player and pay him more than anybody on our team? And is that player worth more than anybody on our current team?” Kelly said. “You also have to kind of look at that.
“Some of the money that was being thrown around at the beginning, you got to be able to manage that. You got to pay some guy who’s never been to a Pro Bowl that’s going to make more than anybody on your roster. That’s a little bit difficult. There are a lot of things that get involved in some of these things.”
One of those free agents who is still on the market is 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin, recipient of the NFL’s 2015 Walter Payton Man of Year award. Boldin’s agent, Tom Condon, was also in attendance at Stanford’s pro day and said the market for free agents who are Boldin’s age (35) can usually take awhile to heat up. The veteran is by no means considering retirement in any way, shape, or form.
“He wants to play,” Condon said.
David Barclay is the 49ers Insider for byteclay.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @DJamesIII