HomeTrade RumorsSan Francisco 49ers: A Guide to the 2024 NFL Offseason

San Francisco 49ers: A Guide to the 2024 NFL Offseason

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San Francisco 49ers

Projected Cap Space: -$8.3 million

Draft Picks: 11

  • 1st (No. 31)
  • 2nd (No. 63)
  • 3rd (No. 94)
  • 3rd (No. 98, comp)
  • 4th (No. 125, DAL)
  • 4th (No. 132)
  • 5th (No. 176, comp)
  • 6th (No. 209)
  • 6th (No. 214, comp)
  • 6th (No. 215, comp)
  • 7th (No. 249)

Notable Free Agents: 

Top Three Needs

1 – Right Tackle

From top to bottom, there might have only been one or two teams with a roster as loaded as the 49ers were last year. They didn’t have many weaknesses. But one of the few softer spots on the roster — the right side of the offensive line — ended up getting exposed late in the Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs. 

There is room for the 49ers to upgrade from all three of C Jake Brendel, RG Spencer Burford/Feliciano and RT Colton McKivitz. But tackle should be the priority as a premium position. Good tackles are harder to find than good guards and centers, and the 49ers also need to start thinking ahead when it comes to 35-year-old LT Trent Williams

Fortunately for the 49ers, the upcoming draft class is seen as a particularly strong one for both tackles and centers. There will be affordable veterans available in free agency as well to fortify the interior. Ideally San Francisco can get a rookie who wins a competition against McKivitz to start at right tackle and perhaps becomes an option to switch to the left side down the road. 

2 – Defensive Line

The 49ers would still be one of the most talented defensive lines in the NFL even if they didn’t replace any of their pending free agents. But few organizations prioritize the trenches on this side of the ball like San Francisco does, and it’s time for them to reload again. Three of four starting spots are filled between DE Nick Bosa, DT Arik Armstead and DT Javon Hargrave. But that other spot across from Bosa is a question mark, as is the rest of the rotation which the 49ers lean on more than many teams. 

One in-house candidate is former second-round DE Drake Jackson, who the 49ers hoped would seize the job across from Bosa this year. He roared out of the gates with three sacks in Week 1, then was hardly heard from again before a knee injury shut him down for the year by Week 8. San Francisco won’t give up on Jackson but the 49ers need another starting edge rusher, plus a player or two to round out the rotation. 

On the interior, essentially the entire depth chart behind Armstead and Hargrave is turning over. Both played a little over 50 percent of the snaps, so that leaves 500 or so snaps for other players. The 49ers could go their typical route of signing medium to low-cost veterans on one-year deals looking for a big year in a pass-rush-friendly system, but they also will likely be on the alert for long-term options to take over for Armstead and Hargrave. Both will be 31 this year and are approaching outs in their contracts in 2025. 

3 – Wide Receiver

Linebacker and cornerback received some consideration here. Veteran LB Dre Greenlaw tore his Achilles in the Super Bowl and could be less impactful in 2024 — and his deal makes him a potential cut candidate too. 49ers CB Charvarius Ward was terrific but teams had success picking on the others. 

But wide receiver is both a massively important position for the offense and an under-the-radar need. First of all, the 49ers have a starter on an expiring contract in Jennings, though they should be able to keep him on the restricted tender. The bigger question is what the future looks like with the two-headed monster of Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel.

Aiyuk is entering the final year of his rookie deal and should be due for the kind of raise other receivers have cashed in on. Think $23 million a year as an absolute floor. But the 49ers are incredibly top-heavy on their salary cap right now and will have to make some hard decisions, maybe sooner rather than later. 

Getting a young star in the pipeline at receiver who can start developing as soon as possible, especially because of HC Kyle Shanahan’s notoriously rigorous standards, should be a priority for the 49ers. 

One Big Question

Can the 49ers keep the Super Bowl window open?

Having QB Brock Purdy be as good as he’s been on the contract he signed as the last pick of the 2022 draft has been a godsend for the 49ers. They have one more year where Purdy will count just over $1 million toward a team salary cap of $278 million. That gives the 49ers tremendous flexibility with the other 52 players on the roster. 

After that, it gets cloudy. Purdy will need a new deal and several other key players will be getting older. This upcoming 2024 season could represent the last, best chance for the current core to get over the hump and win the Super Bowl. 

I would expect the 49ers to treat it that way. For instance, maybe it makes more sense long-term to trade Aiyuk and take a crack at replacing him. But that leaves a massive hole on offense that will be hard to replace. The alternative is letting Aiyuk play out the year on the option (or extending him) and banking that if you win the Super Bowl, the problems in 2025 will be much easier to deal with. 

The 49ers have enough resources to patch a few holes on the roster and shore up their depth. As long as they stay relatively healthy, they should be one of the top teams in the NFC yet again in 2024. 

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