49ers Begin Free Agency Shopping Tonight

NFL free agents begin getting shown the money when the clock strikes 9:01 pm Pacific Standard Time tonight.  The 2009 free agent season will then be underway, and banks will be broken over players great, worse-than-average, and anyplace in between.

The 49ers come in with a terrific cap situation -- $25 million under, as revealed to The Chronicle. They could make that number even bigger by releasing Alex Smith. But they've been exceptionally tight-lipped regarding free agency so far, particularly after last year getting burned on a tampering charge. General Manager Scot McCloughan stayed purposefully vague, saying "We're not going to blow it on two or three players."

The concensus best free agent catch out there is Titans' defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, but the Redskins are reportedly already lining up $100 million for the guy -- and he's not even "two or three players". He's way out of the 49ers price range. But this is internet speculation, so we're obliged to address all the most mad unlikely scenarios.

The class of free agents in the 49er price range spectrum is Ravens' liinebacker Bart Scott. He'd fit perfectly in the into a Mike Singletary, linebacker-friendly scheme, and the Ravens have already used the franchise tag on Lee Suggs. The Niners could also afford to splurge on wide reciver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who would stretch defenses and soften things up for Frank Gore.

The 49ers have their own free agents to re-sign, notably Takeo Spikes and Allen Rossum. But there will be ridiculous offers flying, and the Niners are in a position to make some of them.

 Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who wishes they would jst blow it on two or three players.

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