The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners

The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners
A review and commentary on the history & lastest events surrounding the 17 time NFC Western Division & 5 -Time World Champion San Francisco 49ers. From 1946 and the All America Football Conference to 2009 and the road to a 6th Super Bowl title - For true fans of the scarlet and gold! Enjoy!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

How To Spend John York's Money

The 49ers have a little less than $30 million in salary-cap room, which means they have probably budgeted no more than $20 million in 2008 cap space for free-agent signings. They still have to sign their draft class, and teams typically like to have at least a $5 million cushion heading into the season to account for players who go on injured reserve and other emergencies, as well as the possibility of offering contract extensions. They can get a lot done with $20 million when the signing period begins Thursday at 9:01 p.m. (PT), but as Mike Nolan and Scot McCloughan said they aren't just going to spend the Yorks' money just to spend it. The team can definitely sign at least one big-ticket guy, and they can structure a contract in a way that won't kill them for the future. They did that last year with Nate Clements. The Niners had plenty of cap room, so they gave him a $10 million roster bonus, which counts immediately against the cap. Therefore, Clements had a $11.1 million cap figure in his first season. The next three years, he will count $5.55 million (2008), $5.68 ('09) and $8.17 million ('10) against the cap. The 49ers can get out of that deal prior to the 2011 season and they'll be just fine, as far as the cap goes. The 49ers will also have the ability to make a run at several so-called Second Tier free agents - such as lesser-known players at guard and inside linebacker spots.

Lance Briggs doesn't fit with the 49ers. He may be an elite linebacker and a sexy free agent on the horizon, but signing him both would not address the positions of need, and add unnecessary depth at an already deep position. Having said that, that doesn't mean Nolan won't push to sign him, being a one track defensive minded coach. Games in the NFL are won on the outside. If teams are going to spend money on defense, spend it on cornerbacks and pass-rushers. If there's a need on the interior of the line, feel free to spend it there, too. But don't spend huge money on a linebacker who does not rush the passer when you already have an outstanding young player who runs around the field and makes tackles. Why sign somebody who does the same thing as Patrick Willis but who'll make at least twice as much money? I don't think the position is so important that you need to invest so much money for two players at that spot. Would the linebacker crew of Willis, Briggs, Manny Lawson (above) and anybody else be a among the league's elite units? Heck, yes. But nobody in that group can be counted upon to scare an opposing offense in pass-rush situations. Briggs has 5.5 sacks in five seasons.

Briggs is really good at playing downhill and attacking the line of scrimmage. But you want to know something? The 49ers' run defense was pretty darn good last season. Run defense is the least of the 49ers' concerns. The 49ers ranked No. 22 in the league in rushing yards allowed per game. But that was only because the team was so bad and the opposition always had a lead in the second half, so they stayed with the run. Only the Dolphins and Jets had more rush attempts against them. If you look at average yards per rush attempt, the 49ers were fifth-best in the league, yielding just 3.8 yards per carry. Getting a space-eater defensive tackle would be the top priority on defense, and there are some premier Warren Sapp/Kris Jenkins/even Bryant Young type DT's in this draft. Such as Glen Dorsey, (left from the LSU Tigers). Unfortunately, they will be off the board by the 29th pick.

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