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Niners want to become 'destination' for '18 free agents

In signing Jimmy Garoppolo to that beefed-up five-year pact on Thursday, the San Francisco 49ers achieved two things that foretell future prosperity: they secured a franchise quarterback, and in doing so became a destination franchise once more.

During Friday's unveiling of the freshly wrapped goods, 49ers general manager John Lynch made his Suge Knight sales pitch to the league's impending free agents.

"It's 75 degrees and sunny outside, we've got this guy [Garoppolo], who wouldn't want to be here?" Lynch said with a smile to the Bay Area media contingent. "We want to become that. We want to become a destination where everyone wants to be. We've got a long way to go. We were 6-10, okay, so this is a big day for us, but we have a long way to go, and we're fully aware of that."

As if a coded, tamper-free message from the GM to prospective signees wasn't enough, the Niners' Twitter account took Lynch's message and ran with it.

And it's not just talk from the Niners. As Lynch joked on Friday, "it's easy spending other people's money." But it's even easier where there is a lot to spend, and San Francisco enters 2018 with the second-most cap space in the league, per ($77.4 million).

With needs at skill positions like wide receiver and depth issues at offensive line and other spots, that cap space will surely come in handy this offseason when acquiring appropriate talent and, if Lynch's call to arms falls on willing ears, the right talent.

"We're going to be aggressively prudent and always make wise decisions and look out some years and do things, though, that we feel are a fit and give us an opportunity to be a better organization," Lynch concluded Friday. "We're going to make those moves. This takes up some of that room, but that was a trade-off we were happy to make, and we still have a lot left."

With a young, confident QB-coach-GM trio in the building in Santa Clara for the next five years, there are fewer franchises in the NFL more attractive to those seeking new employment. Joining the Niners franchise in 2018 has the feel now of going in on a ground-floor start-up in the early days of Silicon Valley, a jump made based entirely on confidence and newfound resources. At least that's the image the organization projected on Friday.

Whether that's enough to sell free agents on a future in the Bay Area remains to be seen -- the initial feedback is positive, and players already in the building have nothing but praise for Jimmy G -- but it's a promising proposal.

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