NFL free agency begins at 1:00pm PT on March 13, and the San Francisco 49ers will enter the period with a sizable amount of salary cap space. They still have to figure out a contract for Alex Smith, but even with a deal for Smith, they should be able to be a sizable player in the market.
The most frequent discussion surrounding the 49ers is the fact that they are in need of wide receivers. It is a fact because they only have three on the roster, which means they are going to add receivers in some form or fashion, be it free agency or the draft. There is a lot of talent in both pools and the 49ers will have to figure out how best to utilize their resources.
According to Matt Maiocco, the 49ers will target both Chargers unrestricted free agent Vincent Jackson and Steelers restricted free agent Mike Wallace. The 49ers have set a price for each and are not expected to get into any sort of bidding war.
Of the two players, it would seem Wallace is the most likely for the 49ers to sign. If they have set a price on each player, they know that a Wallace signing will require a very specific minimum first year salary cap figure. The Pittsburgh Steelers have only so much cap space and a deal with a first year cap hit of approximately $11M to $12M might be too much for them.
Such a cap hit does not mean the entire deal will average that much per season. Rather, that would factor in base salary and the proration of the salary cap for year one. They could frontload the contract to price out the Steelers and then make it much more cap friendly in subsequent years.