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.