1. Re-sign Alex Smith. Like him or not he's the best option for this team for the next couple of years. Kaep isn't ready and there's no sense shelling out for Manning with his health concerns. (Granted, if he can somehow prove hes 100% healthy and wants to come to SF on a deal that is almost purely incentive based, then sure, welcome aboard.)
2. Extend similar, solid offers to Brandon Carr and Carlos Rogers. First one to take it gets it. I'm not saying low-ball, but make a decent offer and see if a guy would rather go hunting for more money from a bottom feeder or take a good contract to play for aSB contender with the kind of pass rush that will make them look good every game. If neither one bites, move on. The niner front seven will make mediocre corners look better so there is value to be had in not overpaying at this position.
3. Re-sign Josh Morgan to a lower but incentive-laden deal. He's been solid when he's healthy and he's a niner guy.
4. Tag Goldson. Safety tag is cheap and Goldson plays better with motivation - needing to get that next contract will keep him hungry.
That takes care of the guys currently on the roster. After these 4 items, the team essentially has guys pencilled in at every starting/key backup position except RG and WR1. Backup G is also something of a concern, as potentially is depth on the D-line and at safety.
So at this point the team has the draft and free agency to find: a WR1, a RG, and depth at G, S, and DT.
The Saints will be a key here. If they have to franchise Brees then both Nicks and Colston become available. If they don't, then only Colston will be a FA. Both should be Niner targets with Nicks as the priority and Colston as a fallback if both Nicks and WRs Bowe (likely tagged) and Jackson are unavailable/too expensive. I'm going to assume that nicks is franchised, and that neither Bowe nor Jackson is available. Colston I think is achievable and fits the niner scheme as a bigger guy with good route-running skills. Because this is supposed to be hyper realistic, i'm going to assume they strike out here anyway.
If the team can fill the WR1 hole in free agency (in this case, with Colston), then they should look to the draft for the other needs. The WR1 signing would likely use up the last of any real space anyway, after signing one of the 2 CBs and tagging Goldson.
Round 1 - Hill, Fleener, or Konz. It will depend on who is available and what happens in free agency, but each of these 3 makes good sense. Hill is a size/speed guy that gives you #1 upside as well as a useful skill from day 1 as a top-off deep threat. Fleener gives you the same thing, but also ahs the added versatility of being able to slot in at TE or WR (although he won't run as well as hill). Konz actually fills the biggest need(s) - he could start at G for a couple of seasons and then transition to his natural C role when Goodwin is done. Assumption - Fleener
Round 2 - Zeitler, J. Robinson, Marvin Jones, Minnifield. If Konz isn't picked in the first then Zeitler, his Wisconsin teammate, should get a look in round 2 as a starting-caliber G. Josh Robinson gives you blazing speed as a young corner and kick returner, especially if Rogers or Carr isn't on board and if Ginn isn't back. Marvin Jones is a physical specemin of a receiver with decent college production, and Minnifield is a good Corner/safety hybrid prospect who would likely benefit greatly from having the kind of pass rush that the niners can generate. Assumption - Zeitler.
Those first 2 picks are where they have to fill their starter holes. Fleener basically takes the WR spot of no FA is signed, by basically being one of the 3 or 4 best receiving threats whether you want to call him a WR or a TE. Zeitler slots in at G. The rest of the draft should focus on depth at G/C, DT, S, and WR.
So we are left with:
Backup G Person/Kilgore/Draftee
Backup T Boone
DTs Smith, McDonald, Draftee
NT Sopoaga, RJF
OLBs Smith, Brooks, Haralson
ILBs Willis, Bowman, Grant
CBs Carr/Rogers, Brown, Culliver
So there you have it. Not a lot of major changes. Basically it's the same team as right now. This is what I feel is realistic for this team - sign a couple of their own guys, make a choice at CB, take a swing at a WR1, draft a receiving threat and an interior lineman early, shore up the depth issues late. Let the guys continue to develop and see what they can be with a full training camp and a full year together under their belts.
[ Edited by DarkKnight1680 on Mar 1, 2012 at 8:52 AM ]