A week into free agency and Emmanuel Sanders’ exit is what hit the 49ers’ offense hardest. Other than that, their depth chart still looks above average.
Jimmy Garoppolo, still here. Top-notch rushing attack, primed for more. Tight end George Kittle, still grinding toward a big pay day.
Coach Kyle Shanahan’s stated goal is to retain as much of last season’s NFC-winning roster intact, and his offense should not look radically different in 2020.
When will the 49ers reunite for offseason workouts? Well, NFL offseason programs are indefinitely on hold. The 49ers’ was to start April 20, and now May 20 looks like a stretch.
Governor Newsom: COVID-19 patients in ICUs have
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That delay will hurt teams initiating a new coach, quarterback, system, etc. The 49ers are on Year 4 under Shanahan, and that familiarity will give them an advantage in a shortened offseason.
Here is how the offensive depth chart appears one week into free agency:
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 2: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) throws on the opening drive against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first quarter of Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
Analysis: While national media wildly speculated that Garoppolo might swap places with Tom Brady, the 49ers wisely stayed the course. Meanwhile, Garoppolo vacationed in Kauai, an idyllic setting anytime, especially when there’s noise to escape. Mullens beat out Beathard last year for the No. 2 role that wasn’t summoned upon thanks to Jimmy G’s knee recovery. That same, three-man wolf pack should be in store for 2020. A fourth QB will be brought in, perhaps with a low draft pick, to help at training camp.
SANTA CLARA, CA – JANUARY 19: San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert (31) runs past the tackle of Green Bay Packers defenseman Dean Lowry (93) in the fourth quarter of their NFC Championship game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)
Kyle Juszczyk (FB)
Jeff Wilson Jr.
Analysis: Mostert’s breakout season, highlighted by his 220-yard masterpiece in the NFC Championship win, ought to reserve him a larger role. Options abound to complement him, and that might finally include McKinnon, who renegotiated his salary ($6.5 million to $910,000) after missing two seasons with a knee injury. Coleman and Breida are not locks, especially not Coleman at a $4.5 million salary. Breida drew a $3.3 million tender. Wilson is no afterthought, not after scoring some big touchdowns last year, including the game winner against Arizona that showed receiving ability the 49ers hope to get from McKinnon. Extending Juszczyk ($5 million salary in 2020) must be on the to-do list.
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 2: San Francisco 49ers’ Kendrick Bourne (84) runs after a catch against Kansas City Chiefs’ Charvarius Ward (35) in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
Richie James Jr.
Analysis: Sanders’ replacement could come with the No. 13 overall draft pick, acquired in last week’s trade of DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts. Look no further than Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs. Or perhaps the 49ers finally deal for Odell Beckham Jr., if they can handle $14 million annually. Samuel has fast become a star, so must handle more on-field attention and off-field fame. Bourne is maturing into a reliable cog. Taylor (foot) and Hurd (back) must prove healthhy. Pettis needs to rebound from a sophomore slump. Goodwin looks as good as gone with his $4 million salary and last season’s curious exit to injured reserve. Addressing the wide receiver position is such an annual rallying cry that the 49ers have drafted at least one each year since 2003.
Free agent: Jordan Matthews
Departure: Emmanuel Sanders (Saints; two years, $16 million)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL – FEBRUARY 2: San Francisco 49ers’ George Kittle (85) catches a pass in front of Kansas City Chiefs’ Daniel Sorensen (49) in the second quarter of Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. Kettle would be called for pass interference. The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)
Analysis: Paying Kittle the richest contract in NFL history for a tight end is the 49ers’ primary task. He is their offense’s catalyst with hard-fought yards after the catch and hilariously devastating blocks. To help him and the offense, a top-tier tight end must be added, at the very least to replace Levine Toilolo’s blocking ability in two tight-end sets. Dwelley needs to show he can be more than a relief option for Kittle and Juszczyk. Helm should be ready after spending most of last season on the practice squad.
Departure: Levine Toilolo (Giants; terms unknown)
SANTA CLARA, CA – JANUARY 19: San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) joins the group celebration after San Francisco 49ers’ Raheem Mostert (31) scored a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter of their NFC Championship game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group) (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
LT Joe Staley
LG Laken Tomlinson
C Weston Richburg
RG Daniel Brunskill
RT Mike McGlinchey
G Tom Compton
Analysis: The 49ers have yet to confirm Thursday’s moves at guard: releasing two-year starter Mike Person (per ESPN), signing Shanahan-schooled journeyman Tom Compton (league source confirmed). Look for Brunskill to get a starting shot, if he can beat out Compton, Garland, Reynolds and perhaps a rookie hot shot. Keeping the “bro-line” intact will do wonders for consistency sake, but strengthening the interior is vital. Richburg is overcoming another knee injury so that center spot definitely should not be overlooked. Coleman re-signed to compete with Skule and others as backup tackles, which were in great demand last season.