Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It certainly has been an eventful off season for our beloved 49ers hasn't it? New coach, newish staff, unimpressive draft, payers retiring in exodus and the media experts singing from any available website or microphone about the massive change that is happening in Santa Clara. The real question that has been bugging me is…Are we really any different than the rest of the NFL?

Most fans and experts point the blame straight as the 49ers' front office, and clearly there is some blame there on the mishandling of the Jim Harbaugh situation, but can you really lay the blame on Jed York and Trent Baalke for players retiring over health? As fellow 49erswebzone writer David Bonilla points out in his recent article we have lost cornerstone players largely due to age and health issues. All teams deal with this every season, just not usually all at once.

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While it is convenient to place blame on the front office for free agent departures, the truth is most of the players leaving really had no chance of being resigned in the first place. As much of a fan I was of the free agents that left (Crabtree, Gore, Iupati, Culliver, and Cox) were we really interested resigning a injury prone wide out, an aging (albeit great) running back, a sub-standard pass blocking left guard, and two mid-level defensive backs, when there is proof that Baalke never has invested heavily (in cap space) in those positions anyway? Baalke pays for pass rushers and offensive tackles, not interior lineman and defensive backs because that is how he builds teams.

ESPN recently compared lost snaps vs. added snaps for all 32 teams in the NFL. The 49ers look pretty bad from a numbers standpoint having lost 8,728 snaps and only gaining 3,031 from free agent additions or a difference of 65.27%. Looking at an average of the whole league of 31.63%, it would appear that the 49ers are well above the average. However, eight teams in the league are within 10% of the 49ers with division rivals St. Louis actually coming in higher at 67.57% and Arizona having a mark of 47.29%

On the higher end of the spectrum you find the Packers (100%) and Steelers (93.81%), which at first glance seems horrible. However, these are two teams that are historically pretty good at drafting and are never big players in free agency. On the flip side, you see the Jets (-97.43%), Bears (-13.69%), and Raiders (-13.02%). These teams actually gained on the snap count numbers meaning they either acquired via trade or free agency veteran players. This could mean that these teams haven't hit on as many draft picks in recent years as the rest of the league. While Chicago might be a bit of anomaly since I feel they have drafted fairly well over the past three seasons, I think we can all agree that the Jets haven't had the greatest drafts and the Raiders are coming out of a three year salary purge.

It could possibly be argued that non-playoff teams would likely have more roster turnover in the offseason than their playoff counterpart's right? There is some data to support that as well, as these teams only saw 39.70% turnover on average. The world champion Patriots were the best amongst these teams with 11.08% snap turnover and the above mentioned Packers were the worse at (100%). Taking the Packers and Steelers out, the second worst team were the Ravens (64.35%). Defending NFC champion, Seattle came in below the average at 29.89%, which is evident of the strong nucleus of players from the past two seasons.

While it is easy to sit here and say the numbers don't lie, I don't think that is appropriate since you have to look at the quality of the players lost and gained. Clearly I can't go through the entire league for that data, but it is clear that the quality of players the 49ers lost versus some of the gains is going to hurt a bit more than some other teams.

It seems rhetorical to say that the Patriots are going to miss Revis more than the Rams are going to miss Bradford. The Bills are going to be better with McCoy then with Alonso. The Eagles might have negated losing McCoy by signing Murray, but will miss Maclin in the passing game so there seems to be a negative there. The Saints and Seahawks trading Graham for Unger might be a wash in the snap count, but we can see who got the better end of that deal. However I feel that the addition of Torrey Smith is much better than Crabtree and I think the 49ers will find the same if not better production from Hyde over Gore. Adding Bowman back will negate losing Willis and Wilhoite played well starting for Bowman/Willis last season.

The 49ers losing Willis, Smith, Gore, and Davis hurts more because of the stature and importance to the team from a leadership and elite ability standpoint. Borland just hurts because of the high draft pick that was spent on him. However, I think most of can agree that if these players are missing time due to lingering injuries or not playing at the level they are used to, do we really want them eating up cap space or preventing the development of another player? I honestly think that Baalke sees it as huge sigh of relief with Willis and Davis retiring from a cap stand point because it frees up space in coming seasons so the 49ers can live with the Kaepernick deal and also offer a lucrative extension to Aldon Smith should he keep his act together. The moving of Andy Lee to Cleveland over the weekend was purely a cap move, not due to Lee's diminished abilities.

Either way, I tend to lean more towards the Darnell Dockett line of thinking that the 49ers can still win with this team they have put together. I do think there will be a clear step back on the defensive side of the ball if they cannot put a pass rush together, however I think offensively the team has made a lot of improvements and should be exciting to watch.