And then there was silence. After an eventful start to free agency in which the 49ers signed six players, and had a highly publicized dalliance with quarterback Peyton Manning, the 49ers backed off any signings last week. It may spell an end to the first phase of free agency for San Francisco.
So how did this team fare? Overall their free-agent signings were completely unimpressive; in fact only two of the six signings are assured to make the team. While the prize of the class, wide receiver Randy Moss, sounded dedicated on a conference call with reporters, is he really? Moss showed little dedication in his last two stops, Minnesota and Tennessee, and after sitting out a year, who's to say he has finally found the passion?
Cornerback Perrish Cox sounded like a reformed man after being exonerated of a sexual assault charge. However, attitude problems dogged him coming out of Oklahoma State. Will Cox be able to subdue his demons?
Former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs doesn't play special teams and puts forth erratic effort. He's also not likely to see a lot of playing time should starter Frank Gore stay healthy. Last year, Jacobs told Men's Health in November he was unlikely to return to the Giants because he wasn't getting the playing time he wanted. Does he really expect to get more in San Francisco?
However, where the 49ers really scored is on re-signing their own players. Placing the franchise tag on safety Dashon Goldson and re-signing cornerback Carlos Rogers and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks means the 49ers will return all 11 starters on a defense that allowed the second-fewest points in the league.
Re-signing Alex Smith means the quarterback will have a second year in the Harbaugh/Greg Roman system, which could really benefit Smith. He won't have his head spinning with yet another new offensive coordinator and another new offensive system.
The surprise was getting return man Ted Ginn Jr. back. After taking a pay cut last year, team officials figured Ginn would flee. But he decided to come back to the team which has to delight special teams coach Brad Seely.
Failing to re-sign Adam Snyder leaves a hole at right guard, but the 49ers might not have had much interest in bringing Snyder back. Mitigating the loss of wide receiver Joshua Morgan, who went to his hometown Redskins, are the signings of Ginn, Manningham and Moss.
Add to this the seven selections the team has in the draft and the potential for bargain shopping in June, and the 49ers have positioned themselves for more success in 2012.
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