The first stretch of the 2012 free agency period has been hectic, to say the least. Or maybe it's just hectic because San Francisco 49ers fans are rabid for a lot of odd things, while the team is somewhat inactive, as is the usual case. While the fans worked themselves into a frenzy over Mike Wallace and the potential departure of linebacker Blake Costanzo, the team quietly courted guys like Eric Wright and Brandon Carr, before ultimately re-signing Carlos Rogers.
Unlike the Wallace frenzy, the fans had a good reason to get worked up about a potential departure for Costanzo, because he actually left. He signed a two-year contract with the Chicago Bears, and in doing so did not spurn the 49ers organization even a little bit. In fact, it was quite the opposite.
Before free agency started, you'd have been hard-pressed to find a player that had the perception of remaining with the team more than Costanzo. We previously said it'd be hard to see him leave, even if the 49ers offered him, oh, a hundred bucks a game. But during the day, it was revealed that Costanzo had two offers on the table - neither of them from the 49ers. That ended with a Twitter-wide double-take and tons of passionate fans Tweeting Costanzo, the 49ers and Jed York.
Costanzo took to Twitter, re-tweeting all of the positive messages from fans and noted several times that he did not want to leave. It looks like the 49ers didn't have him in their plans going forward.
And that could be a problem. The 49ers had an excellent defense in the NFL in 2011 - perhaps the best. As a reaction to that, San Francisco retained all of the defensive starters, capping it with the aforementioned Rogers signing. On the flip-side, their special teams unit wasn't just the best in 2011, it was among the best in recent memory, and at the forefront of the coverage units was Costanzo.
So why not bring him back? There's a couple possibilities, like the 49ers feeling like their schemes going forward would better suit some other players on the roster. They do have Colin Jones, who played a lot of special teams in 2011 but didn't really "get" it until late in the season. They could be expecting him to step up alongside C.J. Spillman and lead the coverage units. Curtis Holcomb could be back and healthy, ready to contribute.
Still, it's somewhat of a head-scratcher, given the relatively low amount that Costanzo will be paid in Chicago.