49ers 2002 Free Agents--10/20/01
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Given that we havenít even reached mid season yet, it may be a little premature to take a look at the 49ers 2002 free agents, but with the bye week, there really may not be a better opportunity. The 49ers have several significant free agents to handle this off-season, perhaps the biggest names being Lance Schulters and Fred Beasley both of whom are unrestricted.

Without further a due the 49ers 2002 free agents: Starting with the teams ďexclusive rights free agentsĒ, those who have an expiring contract who have been with the 49ers for three seasons or less. The player can only sign with his old club, provided that he is offered a one-year contract at the league stated minimum salary for the upcoming year. If the exclusive rights free agent gets no such offer, he is completely free. The 49ers exclusive rights free agents are, FB Jonas Lewis, DE Bobby Setzer, LB Quincy Stewart, CB George McCullough, S Ronnie Heard, P John Baker, LB Shane Elam, and PK Jose Cortez. Of these players the team will likely try and push really hard to resign Heard, Cortez and Stewart providing there seasonís remain on the same course they are on now.

The team has their share of restricted free agents too. These players have been with the team for three years, and have been tendered a contract on or before the free agent signing period begins, all contract tenders give the team a right for first refusal allowing the team to turn down offers from other teams on behalf of the player in exchange for matching the contract offer. The offers must meet one of three criteria, should a player sign elsewhere after one of these offers is made, the team receives compensation for the player in accordance with the offer. In order to get a draft pick equal to that of which the player was originally drafted at, the team must tender a contract worth approximately 110% of the previous seasonís salary or a number equal to that set by the league, which in 2001 was $519,000. In order to attain a first round draft pick for the player, a contract 110% of the previous seasonís salary, or a figure $1,130,000 (for 2001) whichever is greater. In order to attain a first and third round pick for the player, the team must tender a contract of 110% of the previous years salary or $1,508,000 (for 2001) whichever is greater. The 49ers restricted free agents for 2002 are: FB Terry Jackson, TE Justin Swift, and C Ben Lynch. The 49ers would likely want to keep all three of these players, but may be willing to part with Justin Swift if they are happy with the tandem of Greg Clark and Eric Johnson. With FB Fred Beasley an unrestricted free agent, expect Terry Jackson to be tendered whatever it takes to keep him with the team.

Finally the teamís unrestricted free agents, those who are free to sign anywhere until July 15th, at which point the team can tender them a contract to get their rights back (the contract does not need to be signed until tenth week of the season, if he doesnít sign by that point, he must sit out the rest of the season. The 49ers unrestricted free agents are: FB Fred Beasley, C Jeremy Newberry, T Matt Willig, LB Terry Killens and safety Lance Schulters. The team will want to retain all these players, particularly if they continue to play the way they have been this season. It may not be possible to afford them though, and Schulters and Beasley refused to extend their contracts this past off season, and it is common belief that they will take to the free agent market to at least see what they can get.

Just as the 49ers seem to be resolving their salary cap difficulties, and getting back on track, the team is being hit by a bunch of free agents who they ideally would want to keep on their team. While most are calling for the 49ers to be very active in the free agent market for the first time in years, I believe it is more likely the team will continue to try and focus inward in attempts to resign its own rather than branching out to the very expensive free agent market.

Talk about it in the 49ers Paradise Forum

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