The San Francisco 49ers' otherwise fairy-tale season came to a rather unfortunate finale. Remember that the Niners managed to win the NFC West and finish among the final four teams in the 2022–23 NFL season. Of course, they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in an unexpectedly lopsided fashion, 31-7. Still, the 49ers can be proud of their campaign. Remember that they succeeded despite cycling through not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR quarterbacks. However, losing the NFC Championship Game still hasn't healed the scars. So we can start anticipating the team's intriguing offseason. Here we'll look at five sneaky good NFL free agents whom the 49ers must consider signing in the 2023 offseason.

Despite losing starting quarterback Trey Lance early on, the 49ers had a surprisingly productive season. That's thanks to backup Jimmy Garoppolo and rookie quarterback Brock Purdy. Head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch also played crucial roles in assembling a strong roster. This was highlighted by midseason acquisition Christian McCaffrey. We all remember how the team made it to the NFC Championship Game. And then of course, with Purdy's injury and backup Josh Johnson's struggles, the season ended in disappointment.

Looking ahead to next season, the team's management must evaluate the roster. Lynch has to prioritize improving it for another run at the Super Bowl in 2023-24. This includes deciding which internal free agents to re-sign and which external ones they have to run after.

Let's look at five sneaky good free agents whom the 49ers must sign in the offseason. We have a couple of re-signees and a few others from other teams.

5. QB Jimmy Garoppolo (re-sign)

Purdy has shown potential as a potential starter for the 49ers next season. He will remain on the roster with a budget-friendly base salary of $870,000 that is fixed for the next two years. However, the team should not overlook the importance of having a deep quarterback corps. The team should explore all options, including keeping Garoppolo, who has an estimated annual value of $35 million according to Spotrac. At the very least, they could keep Garoppolo and trade him for a compensatory pick. Although Lance and Purdy will likely compete in training camp next summer, it would still be wise for the 49ers to make an effort to retain Jimmy G.

4. K Robbie Gould (re-sign)

Despite his advanced age, the 49ers should consider re-signing Robbie Gould for a year or two. Even the most consistent kickers can struggle with the yips, as demonstrated by Brett Maher's recent embarrassing performance. With the dearth of reliable kickers in the market, it would be unwise for the 49ers to let Gould walk. Despite being 40 years old, Gould is still regarded as one of the top five kickers in the NFL. That makes re-signing him a potentially brilliant move in the long run.

3. EDGE Marcus Davenport (Saints)

The Niners defense had an outstanding regular season, with Nick Bosa recording a league-best 19.5 sacks. However, no other player had more than five. Pending free agents Samson Ebukam and Charles Omenihu are not reliable No. 2 pass-rushers, and rookie Drake Jackson is still unproven. The weak free agency market for pass-rushers means someone like Marcus Davenport could command a high salary. Still, signing him would be a solid move to double down on the defense. It would give the team another option for a No. 2 pass-rusher. He should complement Bosa, who is poised to receive a massive contract soon.

2. CB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (Eagles)

The 49ers may face significant changes in their secondary in the upcoming offseason. They resorted to creative solutions last year by moving Jimmie Ward to nickel cornerback and Tashaun Gipson's outstanding play. However, both players are now free agents. While the Niners have young options like Samuel Womack and Ambry Thomas, signing a veteran like Chauncey Gardner-Johnson could be a wise move. This is especially given his affordability. With a projected value of $5.6 million, the 49ers should sign him up quickly without much difficulty.

1. S Jessie Bates (Bengals)

Talanoa Hufanga is potentially the only remaining safety on San Francisco’s roster with credible experience. However, he lacks the necessary speed for the back-end option in a single-high defense. Jessie Bates, soon to turn 26, has that kind of speed and coverage ability and is a top target in NFL free agency. Bates has had 14 interceptions in his career. He is also one of the few available safeties who can combine coverage skills downfield with the ability to fly downhill and make tackles around the line of scrimmage. Remember that he has missed just one game in five seasons, too. While other teams will pursue Bates, the Niners would be wise to aggressively try to land him. He would be an upgrade to Ward and a perfect complementary partner to Hufanga.