McNolan made a lot of noise in the past 24 hours, but it’s questionable whether they actually signed an impact player. Here’s a look at what they’ve done so far in free agency…
They picked up the last two years on Alex Smith’s contract and extended Michael Robinson for three. They signed Dontarrious Thomas, Allan Rossum, DeShaun Foster, former UC Davis quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan (a Mike Martz favorite who will inevitably be re-named “Mr. O’Sullivan”) and Isaac Bruce.
When I heard this afternoon that the Niners picked up Bruce for two years, let’s just say it was about 10,000 times less surprising than hearing what I did about Hulk Hogan 24 hours earlier: That the Hulkster’s marriage was broken up because he slept with his daughter Brooke’s friend! Yeah, she was like 31, but still…can’t wait for next season of “Hogan Knows Best.”.
So they grabbed a linebacker who made a whopping 5 tackles last year, a return guy whose best years are behind him, an injury prone running back with a lot of miles, a third-string quarterback (good-bye Trent), and a decent but fading second receiver (whose stats will probably drop by 50% just from having two games against the Niners taken away from him).
Oh yeah, they also lost Justin Smiley and Kwame Harris. Kwame jokes are too easy, plus I’m beyond worried that the 49ers have lost two healthy offensive lineman. Unless they’re planning on picking up Alan Faneca in free agency (and he may already be a New York Jet), their o-line is going to be Eric Heitman, Joe Staley and not much else who can be counted on.
Here are the needs for the 49ers: a number one wide receiver who can demand double coverage, any and all offensive line help available, and at least one guy who can get to the quarterback. And please McNolan, don’t tell us that a healthy Manny Lawson is all you need. You need Justin Smith and then some.
If they sign Lance Briggs, what does that really do? Sure, their run defense would be solid. But as the New York Giants showed throughout the entire second half of the NFL season and in the playoffs, a smothering pass rush can make a good team great. Of course, a horrible pass rush can have the opposite effect, which the Niners have learned several times over the past few years.