Unlike years prior, there aren’t an extensive amount of voids the San Francisco 49ers must address in the offseason. While a good number of headline signings have found homes in the first week of free agency, San Francisco managed to make several under-the-radar moves to shore up depth at a number of positions.
Here we’ll take a look at several impact players that still remain on the open market and assess the 49ers needs at various positions.
Top Available: Blake Bortles, Joe Flacco, Blaine Gabbert, Josh McCown, Jameis Winston, Cam Newton
On the 49ers Roster: Authentic C. J. Beathard Jersey, Authentic Jimmy Garoppolo Jersey, Authentic Nick Mullens Jersey
Analysis: Not much to be said here. Garoppolo finished his first full season as a starter while passing for nearly 4,000 yards and tied for fourth in the league with Kirk Cousins with a 69.1 completion percentage. Garoppolo’s 27 touchdowns tied with Drew Brees and Carson Wentz for the fifth-most in the NFL in 2019. His first full season proved better than expected, helping lead the 49ers to their first Super Bowl appearance since 2013.
The 49ers held on to three quarterbacks in 2019, with Mullens suiting up for all 16 games in addition to three in the postseason. There’s no word on whether Kyle Shanahan will employ the same tactic heading into next season.
Top available: Ameer Abdullah, Devonta Freeman, Frank Gore, Carlos Hyde, LeSean McCoy, Lamar Miller, Ty Montgomery, C.J. Prosise
On the 49ers Roster: Matt Breida, Authentic Tevin Coleman Jersey, Authentic Jerick McKinnon Jersey, Authentic Raheem Mostert Jersey, Authentic Jeff Wilson Jersey.
Analysis: San Francisco boasted one of the best rushing attacks in the league last season, ranking second in the NFL with 144.1 yards per game. Part is due to the 49ers stable of running backs that featured Mostert, Coleman, Breida and Wilson Jr..
Mostert is coming off of a breakout season that moved him to the top of the depth chart by the end of the season. Mostert led the 49ers running backs with a career-high 772 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019. He also added 336 yards and five touchdowns in the postseason that featured his 220-yard performance in the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers.
To add to San Francisco’s already-loaded backfield, McKinnon has been medically cleared to return to the field after being sidelined for two seasons with a knee injury.
The 49ers have previously kept four running backs on the roster heading into the season. They have tough decisions looming with five running backs worthy of being on an NFL roster.
“I would love to keep it going forward,” Shanahan said last month. “I think the group that we had last year showed where we could get with them, but it’s always hard to do that. I hope that we can. It’s not as simple as just tying all the running backs together, it’s how you compare them to the other positions and everything. It’s two years in a row that we’ve gone in with four backs and we’ve needed all four. It’s something that I used to look at as a luxury and now I’m almost feeling like it’s a necessity.”
Top available: Geronimo Allison, Taylor Gabriel, Rashard Higgins, Johnny Holton, Demarcus Robinson
On the 49ers Roster: Kendrick Bourne, Marquise Goodwin, Jalen Hurd, Richie James Jr., Dante Pettis, Shawn Poindexter, Deebo Samuel, Trent Taylor, Authentic Chris Thompson Jersey
Analysis: The biggest news surrounding the 49ers pass catchers was the loss of veteran wideout Emmanuel Sanders to the New Orleans Saints in free agency. Sanders hauled in 36 passes for 502 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games with the 49ers and quickly emerged as key asset among San Francisco’s young receiving corps.
The 49ers could look to fill Sanders’ void through free agency. That, or, seek a talented wideout in what has been referred to as the deepest draft class of receivers in recent history.
The 49ers are anticipating the return of Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd. Taylor missed the entire 2019 season following multiple setbacks from a stress fracture in his foot. Hurd also missed last season while nursing a back injury. Both are expected to make full returns by the start of training camp this summer.
Top available: Charles Clay, Jordan Reed, Luke Stocker, Geoff Swaim, Delanie Walker
On the 49ers Roster: Ross Dwelley, Daniel Helm, George Kittle
Analysis: The 49ers lost tight end Levine Toilolo to the New York Giants in free agency and veteran Garrett Celek announced his retirement via an Instagram post. San Francisco could look for additional depth behind George Kittle and second-year tight end Ross Dwelley, who registered career highs in games played (16), games started (six), receptions (15), receiving yards (91) and receiving touchdowns (two) in 2019.
Kittle registered his second-consecutive five-touchdown, 1,000-plus-yard season, leading the team with 1,053 yards on 85 targets. The 49ers could seek an additional tight end this offseason to help relieve Kittle of his considerable workload.
Top available: Demar Dotson, Cordy Glenn, James Hurst, Ronald Leary, Jason Peters, Daryl Williams
On the 49ers Roster: Kofi Amichia, Jake Brendel, Daniel Brunskill, Shon Coleman, Jaryd Jones-Smith, Mike McGlinchey, Ross Reynolds, Weston Richburg, Joe Staley, Laken Tomlinson, Leonard Wester, Justin Skule
Analysis: San Francisco already moved on from right guard Mike Person and could seek the benefit of a veteran free agent. The team recently tendered offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill, who made several starts at both tackle spots and guard at various points last season. Brunskill, who was an integral part of the 49ers success last season, could assume a larger role in 2020.
This year’s draft is also expected to have a surplus of high-end offensive line talent where the 49ers can add depth and/or address the void at right guard. San Francisco could seek the eventual replacement for veteran left tackle Joe Staley. Staley signed a two-year contract extension last June and in his fourteenth NFL season, enters the final year of his contract.
Top available: Jadeveon Clowney, Markus Golden, Everson Griffen, Clay Matthews, Cameron Wake, Shelby Harris, Damon Harrison, Margus Hunt, Brandon Mebane
On the 49ers Roster: Arik Armstead, Alex Barnett, Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Kevin Givens, Willie Henry Jr., Kerry Hyder, D.J. Jones, Jonathan Kongbo, Kentavius Street, Solomon Thomas, Ray Smith, Jullian Taylor
Analysis: The biggest question for the 49ers this offseason is how they will replace DeForest Buckner. Depth was a strength of the 49ers defensive line last season and appears to still be the case despite the trade. In addition to Arik Armstead, San Francisco re-signed defensive lineman Ronald Blair III, who has experience playing multiple spots along the defensive line.
The 49ers also signed former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Kerry Hyder as an additional depth piece. The 49ers could seek an affordable option in free agency or seek an interior presence through the draft.
Top available: Mark Barron, Anthony Chickillo, Kareem Martin, Alec Ogletree, Reggie Ragland
On the 49ers Roster: Azeez Al-Shaair, Kwon Alexander, Joey Alfieri, Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Dre Greenlaw, Mark Nzeocha, Fred Warner
Analysis: Kwon Alexander, Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw each made significant contributions in 2019. Alexander became an intangible asset to the 49ers defense while Warner took a major leap in Year 2. Greenlaw stepped up when called upon, starting in place of Alexander who missed seven games with a torn pectoral. He also became the unsung hero to San Francisco’s postseason path.
San Francisco also saw production out of Al-Shaair, the undrafted rookie who beat our several veterans for a spot on the 49ers 53-man roster. The 49ers agreed to terms with inside linebacker Joe Walker this week, who made 11 starts with the Arizona Cardinals last season and was a key contributor on special teams.
As it stands, San Francisco appears set with their talent at linebacker, unless they see undeniable talent to bolster the position in the draft.
Top available: Prince Amukamara, Bashaud Breeland, Ronald Darby, Johnathan Joseph, Xavier Rhodes, Logan Ryan
On the 49ers Roster: Tim Harris, Jermaine Kelly, Emmanuel Moseley, Richard Sherman, Teez Tabor, K’Waun Williams, Ahkello Witherspoon
Analysis: San Francisco saw production from two of their young corners in 2019. Witherspoon and Moseley both saw snaps opposite Sherman at various points in the season and aided in San Francisco’s second-ranked passing defense.
Sherman will enter the final year of his contract with the 49ers after returning to elite form. Sherman allowed a passer rating of just 45.3 en route to a Pro Bowl selection and second-team All-Pro honors. While the 49ers have the option of extending the corner beyond 2020, there’s a possibility the 49ers could add another veteran to play opposite Sherman, or seek his potential successor in the draft.
Top available: Morgan Burnett, Blake Countess, A.J. Howard, Tony Jefferson, Colin Jones, Reshad Jones, Damarious Randall, Eric Reid
On the 49ers Roster: Chris Edwards, Marcell Harris, Derrick Kindred, Tarvarius Moore, D.J. Reed Jr., Jaquiski Tartt, Jacob Thieneman, Jimmie Ward
Analysis: One of the biggest questions heading into the offseason was the future of free safety Jimmie Ward. His free agency decisions would ultimately determine the 49ers offseason plans. The 49ers re-signed Ward to a three-year contract extension this week, keeping the free safety in San Francisco for the foreseeable future.