I know. You're scratching your head and thinking "Why on earth would I care which players on the 49ers are free agents?" Well, when coaches (like Greg Manusky) move from one team to another they often bring a few players along with them, either because the player really likes the coach or visa versa. Also....
Offensive Free Agents Chargers Fans Might Actually Care About
Alex Smith, QB
Troy Smith, QB
Troy might be out because he's a little guy who's somewhat inaccurate, but maybe the Chargers like him for the back-up QB spot. I don't know. Alex Smith, hometown boy and former #1 overall pick, is a name that will not go away when the topic of replacing Volek is brought up. As much as I love the idea, I think he's going to be too expensive and will either stay in San Francisco or try and land somewhere else that offers a competition for the starting job.
Key Defensive Free Agents
Ray McDonald, DE
Demetric Evans, DE
Aubrayo Franklin, NT
Manny Lawson, OLB
Takeo Spikes, ILB
Dashon Goldson, FS
Ray McDonald might be the most interesting name on that list. He's young, talented and has been pretty solid as a backup DE for the 49ers but probably has no chance of starting for them in 2011. If Manusky really likes Ray, I could see him imploring A.J. to get him to replace Jacques Cesaire as the starter opposite Luis Castillo. I don't know that he'd be too expensive either, considering his limited experience.
Franklin is a good young NT that the 49ers plan on putting the franchise tag on for a second consecutive year. He's staying. The issue with him needing that tag is that it puts the Niners in a tough spot with Manny Lawson, who has been good as a pass-rusher in San Francisco while being double-teamed regularly. If the Chargers were to try and fill the OLB spot through free-agency, I'd almost rather they go after someone like Mathias Kiwanuka, but Lawson wouldn't be a bad fit either.
Dashon Goldson, from what I've read, is thought of as a FS on the verge of being a Pro Bowler. Basically, he's Eric Weddle. I've heard people within the Chargers organization talk about Weddle being able to move down and play SS, so I suppose it would be a good idea for A.J. Smith to at least talk to Goldson....but the Niners would be crazy to let him walk.