When former San Francisco 49ers’ OLB Blake Costanzo left via free-agency after a one-year stint with the team in 2012, it created a huge void on the special-teams coverage unit. A player that ranked second on the team in special teams tackles (17), the coverage unit was never the same since his departure. Sure, they fared better this season with the additions of WR Kassim Osgood and S Bubba Ventrone, but there is no guarantee that either will be brought back in 2014. And with a disastrous coverage unit in 2012, you can bet 49ers special team’s coach Brad Seely will not be opposed to having one of his special-team aces back on the squad.
So with little wiggle room to work with, what makes Costanzo an ideal fit for the Niners? For one, both special-teams players RB Anthony Dixon and ILB Michael Wilhoite are free-agents, and with ILB Larry Grant not being retained last season, you can expect Wilhoite to be let go as well. And if you are wondering if the 49ers will plug in Costanzo at inside linebacker think again, as they already have ILB Dan Skuta and ILB Nick Moody. However, someone needs to command the special teams unit and with Boobie Dixon’s future up in the air, look for Costanzo to be a cheap alternative, as he should be valued at just under $1 million per year.
A great player that was a fan favorite on special-teams, do not be surprised if Costanzo is brought back as he will be a hot special teams commodity on the open-market. Just ask 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, as he spoke about Costanzo while he was on the team saying, “Attitude, great attitude. Guys feed off that. Gives us a great look in practice. He’ll play fullback for you, he’ll play linebacker, anything that you need him to do. He’s been a great addition, just another example of this team, these guys affecting each other.”
The more a player can do the better off he will be, and it’s that type of versatility that will make him a valuable asset. Not to mention, FB/DE Will Tukuafu is also an unrestricted free-agent, signing Costanzo would be the better option, as he can do it all while costing the team significantly less money, as they kill many birds with one stone. And if you are wondering if Costanzo wants to come back to the “Tony Montana Squad,” well rest assured he does as he tweeted:
49er fans I’m a free agent. What’s with the tony Montana squad.
— Blake Costanzo (@BlakeCostanzo51) January 12, 2014