The 49ers have signed 15 free agents so far this offseason. What will these players bring to the team, and what won’t they bring?
Let’s grade each signing.
1. FB Kyle Juszczyk — 4 years, $21 million.
I love this one. Juszczyk is the best fullback in the NFL and will be just 26 years old this season — the Niners can build their offense around him now and in the future. And not just their run offense. Juszczyk doesn’t only block and run. He caught 78 passes for the Baltimore Ravens the past two seasons. He will become Kyle Shanahan’s version of Tom Rathman.
2. WR Jeremy Kerley — 3 years, $8.4 million.
Kerley is only 5-foot-9, but he’s extremely quick, he has great hands and he makes tough catches over the middle. He was the 49ers’ best receiver last season. And he’s still only 28. So, he’ll be around if and when the 49ers become a good team. I thought they wouldn’t re-sign him because he doesn’t know Shanahan’s complicated system, but the 49ers recognized Kerley’s talent and potential. Good for them.
3. WR Aldrick Robinson — 2 years, $4 million.
Robinson played for Shanahan last season on the Falcons and averaged 16.2 yards per catch. He’s a cheap, young backup receiver who can teach Shanahan’s system to receivers who aren’t familiar with it. But he’s more than a mentor. He’s a legitimate deep threat. Against the 49ers last season, he gained 111 receiving yards on four catches.
4. QB Matt Barkley — 2 years, $4 million.
I’m surprised the Bears let Barkley go this offseason. He might be better than the quarterback they replaced him with — Mike Glennon, the $45 Million Man. Barkley started six games in 2016 and played well, particularly against the 49ers, a game he won, and against the Packers, a game in which he made only three bad throws. He’s young and improving. I expect he’ll finish the season as the 49ers starter.
5. QB Brian Hoyer — 2 years, $12 million.
Hoyer will go into the season as the 49ers’ starting quarterback. He turns 32 in October, and he has an extensive injury history — those are his drawbacks. He probably doesn’t have a future with the team. But, he’s a good addition for two reasons: One, he played for Shanahan in 2014 and can help teach his system to the rest of the players on offense. And two, signing Hoyer means the Niners probably won’t trade their first-round pick to Washington for Kirk Cousins. That trade would have been a disaster. The Niners need their first-round pick. Plus, they can sign Cousins next year — he’ll be a free agent. They don’t have to trade for him. The Niners passed that test.
6. LB Brock Coyle — 2 years (terms not yet released).
A solid special-teams player and a backup linebacker with experience playing in the defensive scheme the 49ers will run next season. Coyle even started three games at linebacker last season for the Seahawks. Decent signing.