Okay, I think that just about does it for posts about Dashon Goldson. Now all that’s left is to wait for a national scoop guy (Jay Glazer, probably) to let us know where The Hawk lands. So in the spirit of moving on, let’s take a quick look at three unrestricted free agents the 49ers are probably considering.
One has to wonder if the 49ers would’ve squeaked into the Super Bowl against the Falcons if Atlanta’s best defensive player was at full strength. Abraham is known as a 4-3 defensive end (fifth-best in the NFL in 2012, according to Pro Football Focus), and signing him would almost certainly be a signal that San Francisco would rather not force Aldon Smith to play as many snaps as he did last season. Adding Abraham would give the 49ers another pass rusher — something every team could use — and provide flexibility. With the 49ers set to face Russell Wilson twice per year for several seasons, they’ll need to avoid being too predictable in terms of formations and schemes. It also appears that the 49ers might be competing with Seattle for Abraham if they are indeed serious about signing him.
Positives: 122 career sacks; 10 sacks, 7 passes defensed and 6 forced fumbles in 2012
Negatives: Turns 35 in May
Josh Cribbs, WR (6-1, 215)
The 49ers’ interest in Cribbs can be taken in one of two ways. They’re either not interested in trading for Percy Harvin at all, or they’re letting the Minnesota Vikings know through the media that they have other options. Cribbs is effectively a better version of Ted Ginn at this point. He’s still a very effective punt and kickoff returner, but was phased out of the Cleveland Browns’ offense almost entirely in 2012 (he only played 63 offensive snaps in 2012 after 567 the previous season). There’s always the chance that Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman look at his potential (he rushed 55 times for 381 yards in 2009 and caught 41 passes for 518 yards and 4 TD in 2011) and think they could use him more creatively than the Browns, who have won either four or five games in each of the past five years. Cribbs turns 30 in June.
Update: I didn’t think about this — Cribbs played for Brad Seely (which is why I think the 49ers might also go after free agent kicker Phil Dawson). As Dylan DeSimone of Niners Nation points out, Cribbs had four returns for touchdowns in 2009 under Seely (1 PR, 3 KR).
Positives: Cheaper than Harvin, better than Ginn, averaged 12 yards per punt return and 27.4 yards per kickoff return in 2012.
Negatives: Cribbs has suffered at least three severe concussions in his career, including a vicious hit against Baltimore last year.
Cullen Jenkins, DT (6-2, 305)
The 49ers’ pass rush suffered tremendously after Justin Smith’s injury. With Isaac Sopoaga almost certainly leaving and Ricky Jean-Francois reportedly garnering interest from several other teams, bringing in Jenkins to chat on Tuesday makes sense. Jenkins, 32, spent his first seven seasons in Green Bay and played for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011-12. The reason why the 49ers and other teams (including the Giants and, of course, the Seahawks) were already able to speak with Jenkins was because the Eagles released him. Teams can speak with released players once the release is official, while standard free agents were off limits until 9 pm PST on Friday. Confusing, I know.
Positives: Above average pass rusher for his position, can be counted on for about 4.5 sacks and 25 QB hurries per season (if used full-time).
Negatives: Not a strong run defender; may not be interested in coming to a team that already has Justin Smith and Ray McDonald.