Both the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders have been very active in NFL Free Agency this offseason. The NFL Free Agency started on March 9 at 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Both the Raiders and the 49ers were heavy signers of offensive players, with a few here on defense.
Even with the postseason going on, 49ers fans were excited about potential signings and players that had expressed interest in playing for the Red and Gold. The 49ers signed former Atlanta Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan to a six year deal to lead the team as head coach. Soon after, the 49ers signed four quality receivers – these receivers include Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, Aldrick Robinson and tight end Logan Paulsen. San Francisco spent $57.5 million dollars on improving their receiving core, $47.5m on Pierre Garçon’s five year deal. In addition to adding receiving options in Free Agency, the 49ers raided the Chicago Bears’ free agents, pairing quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and University of Southern California’s Matt Barkley with Logan Paulsen. The 49ers are more concerned with their offense during this offseason, signing seven of their 12 new acquisitions on offense. San Francisco also signed Bay Area-rival Oakland Raiders’ inside linebacker Malcolm Smith, who played at USC with Barkley. Joining Malcolm Smith on the defensive side of the ball for the 49ers will be defensive tackle’s Earl Mitchell and Chris Jones.
The San Francisco 49ers lost three big-name players, strong safety Antoine Bethea and Kicker Phil Dawson to division rival Arizona Cardinals and wide receiver Torrey Smith to the Philadelphia Eagles. The 49ers replaced a Pro-Bowl kicker with another Pro-Bowl kicker in Robbie Gould. Many San Francisco fans will be happy that quarterback Colin Kaepernick will not be returning to the team in 2017. Kaepernick turned down his $14.5 million option.
The 49ers might still be in a rebuilding year, but their 2017 roster is looking much improved from a year ago.
The Oakland Raiders have been a lot less active than their Bay Area neighbor. The Raiders have signed six new players, while only losing two big names. The Raiders signed standout tight end Jared Cook for the next two years. Cook had a mediocre career with Tennessee and St. Louis from 2009 to 2015. Cook proved that he was a reliable tight end when paired with a top-tier quarterback like Aaron Rodgers. Cook can be a downfield threat again this year with Derek Carr throwing him the ball. Oakland also signed Cordarrelle Patterson, another young wide receiver and a great compliment to Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. They also signed right tackle Marshall Newhouse to bolster their outstanding offensive line.
However, with the release of Latavius Murray, the Raiders do not have an outstanding running back this year. The Raiders also lost inside linebacker Malcolm Smith to a five year $26.5 million dollar deal across the Bay. The Raiders will most likely make some move for a free agent running back or try and take one in the first round of the draft to replace the massive void left by Murray. On the other hand, the Raiders also need some help at cornerback. Luckily for the Raiders, the 2017 NFL Draft class is stacked with many good options at both of those positions.
The 2017 NFL Draft will take place on April 27 until the 29.
Recently, the Raiders move to Vegas has also been approved by the league owners with a vote of 31-1. This marks the third franchise relocations in 14 months. The St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers to Los Angeles were the first two. The Raider’s current lease expires in 2018. They are expected to kick off in Las Vegas starting in 2019 in a temporary stadium and in 2020 their brand new $2 billion stadium is expected to be completed.