My Wish List for the San Francisco 49ers Offseason
While the 49ers had an incredibly rough start to the season, they ended the year on a high-note, winning five-straight games on the back of their new quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo. Now with their franchise quarterback coming back one-way or another, either via franchise tag or long-term deal, it is time to build around him and surround him with plenty of weapons to make him as good as possible for as long as possible. Luckily for the 49ers, they have the most available cap space to spend this offseason, with $116,669,127 available to sign other players with.
There are some direct areas of need that the Niners need to address to put themselves in a position to make the playoffs. They need to address the offensive line, the secondary, and the receiving corps. I expect the team to address some of their offensive line and secondary needs through the draft, where they have the seventh overall pick. Now, when it comes to the offensive line, I would use the first round pick on Quenton Nelson out of Notre Dame, who is regarded as one of, if not the, best offensive linemen prospects in the entire draft. After that pick, I would spend the rest of the draft going after defensive backs in the early rounds, while shifting back to the offensive line and linebacking core as the draft goes on. My dream scenario for the draft is that we end up with Quenton Nelson, and some high-level safeties in the second and third rounds.
Now, while my thoughts on the draft will change drastically as the offseason rolls on, but right now, I think that free agency is very interesting in terms of upgrading the offense. I think that in all likelihood, we are either going to let Carlos Hyde walk away in free agency, or another team will offer him a lot more money than the Niners would be interested in paying. It makes sense, he comes from the last regime, which Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch have basically eliminated at this point, and I am sure they would like a more proven, dynamic back at this point. My idea for the running back position, and hear me out, is Le’Veon Bell. He came out before the Steelers v. Jags game and said that if he is franchised again, he will either sit the year out or retire. I think that the Steelers are unlikely to give him a long-term deal, especially because he has been hurt, and suspended for marijuana use. If I am John Lynch, I am going all out for Bell. He is the one of the most versatile running backs in the league, finishing this year with 1,200 yards rushing, as well as 655 yards receiving. He is a better, more refined version of Carlos Hyde at this point. He has three seasons with 1,200+ rushing yards and 600+ receiving yards, and would fit in smoothly with Kyle Shanahan’s passing attack. If we are able to build a solid offensive line through the draft and free agency to help Joe Staley, then I think Le’Veon Bell would have a chance to thrive like never before.
I also think that we need some more weapons on the receiving corps to help make Jimmy G’s job easier. There are several receivers on the market, and the one I am most interested in is Jarvis Landry. He is another guy who could be franchised by the Miami Dolphins, and I would not be surprised if he does get the tag, but he is too good a talent to pass up if you are Kyle Shanahan. He has been absolutely incredible in his first four years in the league, while flying mostly under the radar. In his first four years, he has 400 catches, 4,038 yards and 22 touchdowns. The most impressive part of all those numbers is that he has never had a great quarterback throwing him the ball. I think that partnering him with Jimmy G in Kyle Shanahan’s offense would allow him to explode and be one of the best receivers in the league alongside Odell Beckham Jr. Now, I think it’s unlikely that he leaves the Dolphins, but this is my wish list, so it doesn’t have to be realistic. Another reciever that I am interested in is Sammy Watkins. He has played for both the Bills and the Rams, and has nearly 1,000 yards in each of the last two seasons. He has a connection with the Niners via his former teammate Marquise Goodwin, who thrived in the last five games with Jimmy Garoppolo throwing him the ball. I think that adding either Landry or Watkins to the receiving corps would make it deadly, especially because I think most people have forgotten that we still have Pierre Garcon, who was on pace to have 1,000 receiving yards with Brian Hoyer throwing him the ball. I think a receiving corps of Landry/Watkins, Garcon, Goodwin, and Trent Taylor would be spectacular in Shanahan’s offense with a whole year of Jimmy G throwing the ball.
I think the Niners are in a good position with their special teams, their defensive front-seven (defensive line and linebackers), and their tight ends/fullbacks. With some additions to the areas I mentioned above, I think the Niners could dethrone the Rams atop the NFC West, and potentially make a run at the Super Bowl title. All these moves would be possible thanks to the arrival of Jimmy Garoppolo, who is regarded as one of, if not the, best young quarterbacks in the NFL today. I am incredibly excited to see the offseason shake out, and am even more excited to see the team compete in the upcoming year.