The 49ers have been adding and losing — and losing more free agents over the past three days, and their roster is starting to take shape.
Yes, there are still players to be added, and we’ll highlight the top three in-demand positions below. But with little salary cap space and their first NFL pick coming at the end of the third round, it’s likely that most of the key pieces are already in place.
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Here’s a spot-on look at where things stand and where work still needs to be done.
on board: Brooke Purdy, Trey Lance, Sam Darnold
Departure: Jimmy Garoppolo (Raiders) and Josh Johnson
Lance numbers the team’s MVP when the OTAs begin in May, with Darnold in the backup spot, the same role Nate Sudfeld played last spring. The situation will only get more complicated in late summer when Purdy’s right elbow fully recovers, but we suspect he’ll need some time before he can take over turn two from Darnold or turn one from Lance. Which means that as much as everyone loves to get heated and upset over quarterback controversies, it’s likely to be a moot topic until September.
What about the fourth quarterback? that is possible. Purdy didn’t get much work this past spring, as Lance and Sudfeld devoured the bulk of their training shots. But he saw action in training camp and in the pre-season. A rookie, someone signed late in the draft or after the draft, can fill this role in the offseason and then start the season on the practice squad. active list? When everyone is healthy, the 49ers can carry three quarterbacks for the first time in years.
The 49ers back up the QB room with Sam Darnold, who they’ve been watching for years
on board: Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell, Jordan Mason, Tyrion Davis-Pryce, Kyle Joczek (Defender)
Departure: Tevin Coleman
take: Uncut rookie
That position looks as stable as it has been in the years since McCaffrey’s acquisition and Mason’s encouraging rookie season. There would be a collective dismay by the fanbase if the 49ers spent a third-round draft pick back for the third straight season, and justifiably so. With Bobby Turner and Anthony Lane coaching – and polling – the position, the team’s best strategy might be to bring in runners after the draft, as has happened with Mason, Salvon Ahmed, Jamikal Hasty, Jeff Wilson Jr., and Matt Breda in previous years. . They are all still in the league. Coleman may also be available during the season if there are injury issues.
on board: Debo Samuel, Brandon Ayuk, Joanne Jennings (Tender), Ray Ray McCloud III, Danny Gray, Ty Martin, Daz Newsom
Departure: Willie Sneed IV
take: Beginners, veterans on a budget
The 49ers held just five receivers on the 53-man roster for most of the 2022 season, and those same five, if healthy, could be the only active roster members this season as well. The draft is deep at wide receiver, and it looks like the team is already looking for future replacements for McCloud, who serves as the team’s running back and is only signed through 2023. The 49ers typically carry 11 or 12 receivers in their 90-man season. existing. As it stands now, they have seven. Find them to craft at least one full scale and add more after that.
on board: George Kettle, Charlie Warner
Departure: Tyler Croft, Ross Doyley, Jordan Matthews
take: Newbie, budget free agent
The 49ers held four tight ends on the active roster last season, even though they were rarely in uniform at the same time. Look for the 49ers to add one tight end in what is being hailed as the best draft pick at the position in a while. A combination of Kroft, Dwelley or Matthews could also return in the mix off-season on minimum salary deals. Kroft spent most of last season as the team’s second baseman.
on board: Trent Williams, Aaron Banks, Jake Brendle, Spencer Burford, Colton McKevitz, Jaylon Moore, Nick Zackelj, Jason Poe, Keith Ismail, Leroy Watson, Alfredo Gutierrez
Departure: Mike McGlinchey (Broncos), Daniel Bronskil (Titans)
take: rookie or free agent
The 49ers seem to be good on the inside of the line. Brindel, Zakelj and Ismail – who spent almost all of last season on the practice squad – are the centres, with Banks, Burford, Beau, Zakelj and Ismail at guard. However, the tackle point is weak and the team can bring in a veteran. Or maybe the 49ers will pull together some of their 11 draft picks and get a good tackle on the second day of the draft. Someone to watch this season is Watson, who turned from tip to tight tackle who made positive strides in that transition last season.
The 49ers re-signed Jake Brendel as they aim for the required continuity at center
on board: Nick Bosa, Javon Hargrave, Eric Armistead, Drake Jackson, Colin Ferrell, Javon Kinlaw, Kevin Givens, Kalia Davis, Alex Barrett
Departure: Samson Ipokam (Colts), Charles Omeniho (Chiefs), Hassan Ridgway (Texas), Kerry Hyder Jr., Jordan Willis, Kemoko Turay, Maurice Hurst, TY McGill, Michael Dumphour
take: Budget expert, junior
The 49ers have done a great job strengthening their defensive line with Hargrave and Ferrell, but they’re still down in numbers. The team likes to have eight active defensive players on game days, 10 on a 53-man roster and 14 or 15 on an offseason roster. Willis and Turay may be a possibility to return, and the team has had discussions recently about Willis, who is also a staple on special teams. Meanwhile, recruits are deep on the defensive line, and it would be a mild surprise if the 49ers didn’t make a choice at this position.
49ers adds Javon Hargrave because NFL defense just got better
on board: Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, Orrin Burks, Marcelino Macri-Poole, Curtis Robinson
Departure: Aziz the Poet (Titans) and Demetrius Flanigan Fowles
take: Budget expert, junior
The 49ers expected to lose Poet, their longtime No. 3 player who was assigned every Tennessee role. They did not bid for Flannigan-Fowles, who was slated to be a restricted free agent. He is now an unrestricted free agent and can return on a minimum league deal. After Poet’s departure, Burks became the de facto No. 3 linebacker. Still, McCrary-Ball should be fun to watch this off-season. An uncertified rookie last year, he’s fast, aggressive and has a good chance of making the active roster.
on board: Charvarius Ward, Diodorus Lenoir, Isaiah Oliver, Samuel Womack III, Ambry Thomas, Quantries Knight, AJ Parker
Departure: Jamie Ward (Texas), Emmanuel Mosley (Black), Jason Verrett, Janoris Jenkins
take: Mid-level, junior free agent
The situation was calling for another veteran after the 49ers lost Jimmy Ward and Moseley. So they brought in Oliver, who has appeared in 62 games with the Falcons over the past five seasons and is set to take over Jimmy Ward’s role as cornerback from a nickel. The move should allow Lenoir to stay out there, as he made strides late in the season. We included Knight on the cornerback team because he played it — especially the nickel cornerback — as another off-season starter and has been on the practice squad all year. It is also an option in safety.
on board: Tashawn Gibson Sr., Talanoa Hofanga, George Odom, Tyler Hawkins
Departure: Tarvarius Moore, Donta Johnson
take: Budget expert, junior
The top three spots are set with Gibson, Hovanga and Odom. the fourth? There hasn’t been much buzz about Moore in free agency yet, and because of that, there’s little possibility he’ll return on a one-year deal. Hawkins and Knight are certainly favorites to fill that fourth spot, and Knight has the potential to be a solid team like Moore.
on board: P Mitch Wishnowsky, LS Taybor Pepper, PR McCloud
Departure: K Gould
Ward: Upscale maven, budget maven, newbie
The 49ers and Gould clearly don’t agree on compensation – hence the report earlier this month that Gould will be playing “elsewhere” this season. With that said, Gould is still in the market, and as long as he does, it’s possible he’ll be back. If he signs with the Cowboys, for example, the 49ers could go with a less expensive veteran, someone like Eddie Pinheiro, Matt Prater or whoever loses to the Chargers kicker rivalry between Cameron Decker and Dustin Hopkins. The 49ers can also draft a kicker. Michigan’s Jake Moody is the best, though a potential problem with him is that the Lions also shop for kickers and might be attracted to the guy who kicked the road in Ann Arbor.
(Top photo of Robbie Gould and Clelin Ferrell: Chris Unger / Getty Images)
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