Update Sunday night - 3/1/09:
The 49ers made contact on the first day of free agency with defensive end Chris Canty's agent, but it was pretty obvious that wasn't going to happen. They never even got to the point where they scheduled a visit. Canty reportedly signed a six-year, $42 million deal today with the New York Giants, who have also signed Seahawks defensive tackle Rocky Bernard.
Issue #1: Upgrade Pass-Rush/Defensive Line
Coming to the building: According to MM, Washington free agent DT-DE Demetric Evans is due for a visit on Monday. The 49ers are eyeing several defensive ends and it's unknown how many of them they'd like to snag. Does this mean that Isaac Sopoaga and/or Kentwan Balmer will see time at nose tackle?
Showing interest in: DE Chris Canty is due for a visit next week. He would be the highest-rated of all the free agents discussed thus far. However, the Giants or Seattle could make him an offer he can't refuse. The team also is looking at Denver free agent DT-DE Kenny Peterson and Cowboys free agent TE Tony Curtis.
So I know "we don't want to spend a lot of money" but if we want an effective pass-rusher this season, we're going to have to consider spending some cash for a pass-rusher. It's not like, well if the player is any good, he's going to be cheap. No, we shouldn't pay what the Redskins paid, (edited typo) but we're going to have to compete with the Seahawks, Greenbay, and even the Giants. It doesn't seem like I'm hearing the 49ers on the list of teams that are scheduled to meet with the likes of Canty or even Rocky Bernard.
If we're looking at the draft, I'm not sure there's a player at #10 that's a true NFL-ready pass-rusher.
Well, if that's the case and we don't get a pass-rusher via free-agency, it's again going to be a difficult season with the defensive secondary being exposed once again.
I'm hopeful there's plan but ... well the Norris, Jones and whatever second RB they sign will all be moot if the pass-rush isn't upgraded.
Issue #2: TWO Starters on the OL - at least ONE Vet Starting OT
The Jones signing will be a complete waste of money if we don't secure at least one NFL-ready, starting caliber OT. I have yet to see a deep threat be effective when the QB can't take at the very least a 5-step drop to throw the ball. Vernon Davis will not be a receiver if the OL consistently needs help to block 4 down linemen.
There's a lot of talent in the draft at tackle, but if we are holding true to what was said at the State of the Franchise, the only way the team continues its season in January is if it protects its passer.
Upgrade the OG positions (which is easy enough) and help Frank get more holes. The Norris signing is a waste if the OL can't get push either.
Always willing to update this as new information comes in. However, as of yet we've made cosmetic changes to the team, as far as I'm concerned and really need to take on THE two major off-season questions of the off-season.
[ Edited by NinerGM on Mar 1, 2009 at 16:55:30 ]