Cole A. McMahon
49ers’ Top Free Agent Signings of 2023
By: Cole A. McMahon
The Niners took some losses on their roster but made key free-agency signings to bolster the team.
Here’s a look at the Niners’ top free-agent signings of 2023:
DT Javon Hargrave
Former Eagles’ defensive tackle Javon Hargrave was the biggest free agent signing for the Niners. Hargrave was a top free agent on the market. The Niners signed Hargrave to a four-year, $84 million deal, per Pro Football Talk.
Hargrave recorded a career-high 11 sacks on the season. Hargrave now joins a stacked 49ers’ defensive line with Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead.
C Jake Brendel
The 49ers re-signed Jake Brendel to a four-year $16.5 million deal after having a solid season as the starting center.
Brendel started every game in 2022 only allowing one sack, per PFF. Brendel was arguably the second-best offensive lineman behind Trent Williams for the Niners this season.
OT Colton McKivitz
The 49ers signed McKivitz to a two-year contract extension as he is hoped to be the replacement for RT Mike McGlinchey who signed with the Broncos.
McKivitz has started in five games and played 28 regular season games in his career, according to NBC Sports Bay Area.
Trent Williams told 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco, “The reason he was in that position to be put in to start a game for anybody symbolizes how hard he’s worked to get to this position.”
DE Clelin Ferrell
The 49ers also signed former Raiders’ 4th pick overall, DE Clelin Ferrell to a one-year deal worth up to $2.5 million. Ferrell, drafted in 2019, only has 10 sacks in his career, per Pro Football Reference.
Although Ferrell has not lived up to being a top draft pick, he is now going to work with 49ers’ defensive line coach Kris Kocurek who has continued to build defensive linemen and get them paid.
QB Sam Darnold
The 49ers signed Sam Darnold to a one-year deal worth up to $4.5 million, according to NBC Sports Bay Area.
Darnold was the 3rd pick overall in the 2018 draft by the Jets. He spent the last two seasons with the Carolina Panthers. With Trey Lance coming back from an ankle injury and Brock Purdy recovering from elbow surgery, Darnold comes in as a suitable option at quarterback.
Kyle Shanahan has stated that Lance and Darnold will both take first-team reps during training camp. Shanahan praised the tools that Darnold has which is why he was a high draft pick.
“He hasn’t won a ton of games, and has been thrown into some situations where you’re going to keep both teams in the game because you got to keep slinging that ball to give your team a chance to win,” said Shanahan [via NBC Sports Bay Area].
DB Tashaun Gipson
The 49ers signed Tashaun Gipson to a one-year $2.9 million deal. Gipson and Talanoa Hufanga quickly became a hard-hitting tandem at the safety positions. Gipson secured the safety spot over Jimmie Ward who dealt with injuries at the beginning of the season.
Gipson started all 17 games and totaled five interceptions last season. The Niners hope Gipson can give the same production and continue to build chemistry with Hufanga in the secondary.
CB Isaiah Oliver
The 49ers signed former Atlanta Falcon Isaiah Oliver to a two-year deal.
This signing came after CB Emmanuel Moseley signed with the Lions and Jimmie Ward with the Texans. The 49ers’ secondary was the best it has been in recent years with the signing of CB Charvarius Ward. The 49ers’ defense totaled 20 interceptions on the year.
Oliver has experience playing outside and nickel corner, finding most of his success at the nickel position. In 12 games, Oliver recorded 36 tackles and one interception, according to ESPN.
The 49ers will look for Oliver to take over Jimmie Ward’s spot at nickel cornerback.