NFL free agency in 2018 features a ton of talent spread across quite a few positions, but obviously, some positions don’t have the same depth as others. Wide receiver specifically has a few big names, but on the surface, it doesn’t seem the group will feature more than one or two monster names (barring teams potentially releasing players). The San Francisco 49ers will have to be smart about how they approach free agency and the wide receiver position.
After signing franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a monster $137.5 million contract, it’s now time to find the right weapons for him in the passing game. While Pierre Garcon didn’t get the chance to work with Garoppolo last season, he should be a solid option in 2018. Marquise Goodwin showed some promise and rookie Trent Taylor was solid as well.
The problem with those three names listed above? They combined for just four touchdowns last season. That’s where I will focus for the 49ers’ three free-agent fixes at wideout.
Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
It’ll be interesting to see how big a contract Robinson commands on the free-agent market. He racked up 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015, and the touchdown number alone should be enough to excite 49er fans. He is fully healthy after a torn ACL he suffered in September. He is an attractive option, even with his numbers dropping in 2016.
There’s also the chance the Jaguars will franchise-tag Robinson and not even let him hit free agency, which would be a tough blow to the 49ers.
Paul Richardson, Seattle Seahawks
I don’t believe Richardson will be back with the Seahawks, since he may ask for too much money. That could result in him being an excellent fit with the 49ers. Richardson has flashed tremendous upside throughout his career but broke out in 2017. He collected 44 catches for 703 yards and six touchdowns.
Richardson could be an ideal match with the 49ers, one that won’t completely break the bank. He will cost a bit of money, but at just 25 years old and with the upside he has shown, it will be hard not to imagine him being a great fit in San Francisco.
Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins
Landry is the best player of this group, in my opinion, but I was still uncertain about putting him on this list. The reason he made the cut is purely talent, but I also don’t know if the 49ers will pay what it will cost to land him.
My biggest concern about Landry was put to bed in 2017 when he caught nine touchdowns. Landry had totaled 13 touchdowns in the three seasons prior, but it seems he has turned the corner on that front. If the 49ers spend big, Landry should be the guy, since he can play all over the field and score touchdowns too.