49ers won't adjust spending minus cap

INDIANAPOLIS -- The 49ers won't be diving aggressively into free agency just because the salary cap is going away.

"We're going to go forward as if there is a cap," general manager Scot McCloughan said at the NFL combine Thursday. "We have a good plan in place and the vision and philosophy we have had in the past, we are going to keep the same. If all of a sudden we get to a point where we think we have to, then we will definitely consider it."

There are good reasons to take a conservative approach to the market, even without a cap. The lack of quality talent in the market stands out as the best one. I don't yet buy the idea that teams should be conservative in free agency because a cap could return, mostly because there's already so much unused cap space across the league. But I do understand McCloughan's thinking to the extent that the labor situation is fluid, the future is uncertain and most players hitting the market come with caveats.