Good teams are always on the lookout for a bargain.The Patriots have done it for years. It's a solid way to maintain a winning program. Teams that routinely throw big money at free agents tend to strike out quite often while swinging for the fences.The 49ers did a good job of bargain shopping last season during the expedited free-agent signing period.And you can be sure the 49ers will again let other teams duke it out over the top-dollar guys while they pluck players who fit their scheme and their budget.In today's 49ers Mailbag, I noted that the 49ers will target the top players on the market, all right. But they'll target them at a certain price. Once the price tag rises above the value the 49ers have assigned to a particular player, they will move on to the next player on the shopping list.
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Evan Silva, an astute football writer for Rotoworld, NBC Sports and Profootballtalk.com, wrote an article in which he reveals his top 10 "bargains" on the free-agent market. And there's a little bit of 49ers flavor in his piece.At No. 3, Silva lists New Orleans Saints wide receiver Robert Meachem, and he makes a compelling argument for the 49ers to sign him to a three-year, 13 million contract.RELATED: Robert Meachem career stats 2011 game logs splits
Meachem, writes Silva, was the Saints' best-blocking receiver, has good hands and cites pro scouts as considering Meachem as "a superior free agent to (teammate Marques) Colston as a less scheme-dependent receiver." Also, Colston has undergone significant knee surgeries in recent years, which could impact how a team, such as the 49ers, values him.Interestingly, 49ers guard Chilo Rachal is No. 5 on the list. Silva predicts will Rachal sign a one-year, 2.75 million deal with the Redskins.
The Buffalo Bills have signed two 49ers free agents within the past two days.
After signing wide receiver Rod Streater on Wednesday, the Bills announced the signing of linebacker Gerald Hodges on Thursday.
The 49ers acquired Hodges in a 2015 trade with the Minnesota Vikings for center Nick Easton and a sixth-round draft pick. Hodges started 12 games last season and ranked second on the team with 92 tackles.
Hodges left the 49ers shorthanded for a late-season game against the Atlanta Falcons when he violated team rules. Then-coach Chip Kelly did not disclose the nature of Hodges infraction. Hodges offered no explanation or apology.
The 49ers entered the game against the high-powered Falcons with just two healthy inside linebackers due to Hodges’ deactivation. Starter Nick Bellore sustained an elbow injury on the third play of the game, and the 49ers were forced to use safeties Antoine Bethea and Vinnie Sunseri, and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks at various points of the game.
The 49ers showed no interest in re-signing Hodges as a free agent.
Streater, a five-year NFL veteran, saw action in all 16 games last season after being acquired in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs in September. He caught 18 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns.
It was Jim Harbaugh's first season as head coach of the 49ers.
The 4-1 49ers were in Detroit and scored 10 points in the final 5:29 to beat the Lions 25-19.
An excited Harbaugh got a little too agressive during his postgame handshake with Lions coach Jim Schwartz. The two had words for each other and had to be separated.
Six years later, Harbaugh took the blame for what happened and said that he and Schwartz have patched things up.
"I went in too hard on that, too aggressive on the handshake. I've since changed that. Not doing that anymore. Can't blame him. I went in too hard. And you respect him for taking exception. We've talked, and we're good. We're back to friends. There is a protocol in a postgame handshake. I've been there as the winner. I've been there as loser. You just, 'Hey, nice game,' then go celebrate. Premature celebration there, in the wrong," Harbaugh said Tuesday on Barstool Sports' Pardon My Take podcast.
Harbaugh sounds like he's learned his lesson from that incident with Schwartz.
"The postgame handshake isn't the place for anything. If you're bitter, than change the I to an E. Don't get bitter, get better. Nothing's really changing at the postgame handshake. Just professionally shake hands and go on your way," Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh moved on from the 49ers to coach the Michigan Wolverines. Schwartz coached the Lions through the 2013 season and currently serves as the defensive coordinator for the Eagles.