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Lack of cap room dulls chase of impact FAs

3/16/2014

It doesn’t appear the San Francisco 49ers are going to make a major impact at their most pressing need areas via free agency.

It’s not surprising. The 49ers just don’t have much money. What was surprising really was that they were even in play for some of the bigger names, particularly at receiver.

The 49ers, who currently have less than $4 million in in salary cap room, made some noise in recent days by pursuing receivers and cornerback. None of the pursuits materialized. Saturday night, Pittsburgh receiver Emmanuel Sanders cancelled a visit to sign with Denver. Earlier Saturday, Julian Edelman returned to the Patriots after visiting his hometown 49ers on Friday.

Sunday morning, Seattle cornerback Walter Thurmond signed a $3.5 million one-year deal with the New York Giants. He visited the 49ers on Friday. It was the same deal former 49ers’ cornerback Tarell Brown signed with the Raiders.

I believe losing Thurmond was a bigger deal than the receivers. The 49ers need youth at receiver, but they probably need a little more veteran experience at cornerback.

There isn’t much left on the market at either position. The top cornerbacks are Dominuque Rodgers-Cromartie and Antonio Cromartie. Rodgers-Cromartie would be a great fit, but he is looking for a lot of money. At receiver, the top options are James Jones, Santonio Holmes, Sidney Rice and Kenny Britt.

Even if the 49ers do dip into the market, they will very likely concentrate on these two positions in the draft where they have 11 picks and the flexibility to move up particularly since they don’t have many other needs.