San Francisco 49ers free agency 2021: Top 5 targets

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(Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)

Injuries were a big factor in the 49ers tumbling to the NFC West basement.

From a 4-12 disaster showing to a 13-3 finish and an appearance in Super Bowl LIV to a 6-10 mark and in last place in the NFC West. New York’s Coney Island might be the home of the world’s most famous rollercoaster. But you would have a hard time convincing many that there has been a wilder ride in the NFL in the past three seasons than the San Francisco 49ers.

It has already been an offseason in which the future of oft-injured quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been questioned (from Marc Delucchi of But general manager John Lynch came out and gave the seven-year pro a ringing endorsement recently (via Clark Judge on the Full Press Coverage Podcast).

In any case, head coach Kyle Shanahan and the team have work to do when it comes to adding talent and retaining some of their own (via Spotrac). Here are some suggestions in regards to the latter.

5. CB Terrance Mitchell (Cleveland Browns)

The 49ers will have a new defensive coordinator this year in the form of DeMeco Ryans, a former linebacker for the Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles who enters his fifth year with the 49ers’ coaching staff. That’s because the previous person to own that position is now the head coach of the New York Jets. Robert Saleh spent four seasons in San Francisco and turned things around for a unit that was struggling in many ways.

This offseason, John Lynch will be addressing the cornerback position one way or another. Veterans Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon, Jason Verrett, Dontae Johnson and Jamar Taylor are all slated for free agency.

Terrance Mitchell has bounced around the league since the Dallas Cowboys made him a seventh-round pick in 2014. He spent the last three seasons in Cleveland and in ’20 started all 16 games for the first time in his career, finishing with 65 tackles, three forced fumbles and 13 passes defensed.

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