NFL free-agency reset: Ranking best players still available to teams
7. Eric Ebron, TE
Austin Hooper reportedly capitalized on a breakout season to set the tight end market. He'll inevitably eventually be topped by George Kittle, whenever he and the 49ers come to an agreement on a contract extension. Ebron isn't anywhere near the all-around player that each of them is, but for teams in search of an offensive weapon at the position, they could do a lot worse.
Ebron, 26, finally fulfilled the promise that made him the No. 10 overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft when he hauled in 66 receptions and 13 touchdowns two seasons ago. He dealt with injuries and a quarterback change this past season, and saw his numbers drop across the board. As such, he might be available at a relative discount. When healthy, he can be a matchup nightmare.
6. Breshad Perriman, WR
There are a number of intriguing free-agent wide receivers still available, and depending on what a team is looking for, they can probably find it.
If they're looking for a big-bodied receiver with plenty of athleticism, Perriman might be their guy.
Perriman, 26, has bounced around three teams over his first four seasons in the NFL, but he's coming off a breakout campaign in 2019 in which he caught 36 passes for 645 yards and six touchdowns for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He ran a blazing fast 4.24 second 40-yard dash at his college pro day before being selected with the No. 26 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and stands at 6-foot-2, 215 lbs. There are quite a few offensive coordinators that will be licking their chops to get Perriman in their building.
5. Emmanuel Sanders, WR
While Perriman typically plays on the outside, Emmanuel Sanders moves all around. He came to San Francisco in a midseason trade with the Denver Broncos and immediately developed a strong connection with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, hauling in 36 receptions for 502 receiving yards and three touchdowns for the 49ers. There is mutual interest in a potential return, but due to salary constraints and roster crunching, it might not be a fit unless Sanders is willing to accept less money than he is likely to receive from other teams.
Having just turned 33 years old, Sanders is past his prime and entering the twilight of his career. That said, he showed last season that he has plenty left in the tank, and it wasn't that long ago that San Francisco gave up third and fourth-round draft picks to acquire him. Whether it's for the 49ers or someone else, Sanders can definitely still move the chains.
4. Robby Anderson, WR
Anderson is a lot like Perriman in that he is big (6-foot-3) and fast (4.36 second 40-yard dash). However, he has been far more consistent and productive.
Anderson, 26, has spent the entirety of his four-year NFL career with the New York Jets, but he is expected to have a new home soon. A true vertical threat, Anderson has never finished with fewer than 50 receptions and 752 receiving yards in any season outside of his rookie year.
He offers similar upside to Perriman, and similar dependability to Sanders. For that reason, it wouldn't be surprising if Anderson received the largest contract of the three.
3. Melvin Gordon, RB
On pure talent alone, Melvin Gordon is right up there with the best running backs in the NFL. However, some of his past decisions might explain why he is still in search of a new team.
Coming off his second Pro-Bowl season in 2018, Gordon held out over a contract dispute with the Los Angeles Chargers entering 2019. He sat out through the first four weeks of the season, and then took several more weeks to get up to speed. Consequently, he finished with the worst yardage total and yards-per-carry average of his career outside of his rookie season.
There are plenty of teams who would welcome Gordon's talent level into their backfield. The question is, how much is he going to cost, and is that going to be prohibitive? The longer he remains on the open market, the more likely his price is to come down. After all, he wouldn't sit out all or part of another season.
2. Jameis Winston, QB
After a tumultuous tenure with the Buccaneers, Jameis Winston will be exchanging the pewter for a different team color in the season ahead. Tampa Bay's reported agreement with six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady made that a reality.
Winston, 26, is blessed with immense talent, but far too often has his poor decision-making masked his achievements. He passed for a career-high 5,109 yards in 2019 -- 200 more than the next-closest QB -- and his 33 touchdown passes trailed only Baltimore Ravens star Lamar Jackson for the most in the league. However, he also became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw 30 -- 30! -- interceptions, seven of which were returned for touchdowns.
Often several times a game, Winston will complete a pass that few other signal-callers would even dare to attempt. But therein lies the problem. His failure to mitigate risk has prevented him from fulfilling his potential. Surely, there will be one or more teams that think they can coax it out of him. It wouldn't be a bad bet depending on the cost, but whatever money is potentially saved should immediately be put towards meditation lessons for his next quarterback coach.
1. Jadeveon Clowney, EDGE
There surely is no shortage of suitors for Jadeveon Clowney, who thus far might not have lived up to the immense hype he generated upon entering the NFL as the No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 draft, but still remains one of the more intimidating edge presences throughout the league.
After totaling 18 1/2 combined sacks over his final two seasons with the Houston Texans, Clowney, 27, finished with only three in 2019 after being traded to the Seattle Seahawks in September. However, he remained impactful, forcing four fumbles (recovering two), while intercepting one pass and scoring two defensive touchdowns -- both of which came against division opponents.
The Seahawks would love to keep him, but it's going to be challenging given the price tag he is going to command. That likely is the only reason he is still available.