With our starting QB making 1 million this coming year, we can afford to keep everyone for at least one more season. However, the following year, CK is going to want and probably deserve a major pay raise. At that point, we will have to let some talented players go, because we can't afford everyone. That is actually a problem in having Pro Bowl and AP awards given to the team. They will want to be paid like the top players at their position.
Anyway, here is how I value the team by position, keeping in mind that players that we currently have.
DL - Medium - The only above average player we have is Justin Smith who is declining. We will want to get some youth on this line, but we probably can't afford more than one Pro Bowl player on the line.
LB - High - We have 4 very good starters, and we don't want to break them up
DB - Medium - While it would be great having a shutdown corner, we just can't afford the money at the position. Dashon Goldson is the only Pro Bowl player that we should keep in the DL. I like Tashon Brown, but hopefully he doesn't demand too high of a contract when it is time to resign him. Whitner isn't worth Pro Bowl money, and we can only hope that Culliver will improve. To cover our coverage deficiencies, we will need to depend on our front 7 to pressure the QB.
QB - High - A good QB can mask a lot of other deficiencies on our team. CK will demand a monster contract next year, and we will have no option but to pay him.
OL - High - We spent a lot of draft picks on our current OL, and I think we need to keep them together.
RB - Medium - A mediocre RB behind a great line should be pretty effective. It would be great to have a great RB as well, but we have to save money somewhere. Chances are, whoever we have behind our line will get good stats, and will probably then demand high RB money. We will have to let them go, and keep on drafting replacement RB.
TE - High - If we didn't have Vernon, I don't know that I would put that much money into the position. If we had to release a very skilled player on the team, VD might be the place that I would look.
WR - Medium - I think we need to keep Crabtree, but our second and third WR will probably need to be poorly paid. If I had more money to spend, WR is probably where I would look. It is hard to plug WR into a system, so keeping the good ones for a long time is important.
Poor - It is cheap to find young players to play special teams coverage units (key is finding good ones). You want a reliable kicker, but we have shown you can get along without a great one. Andy Lee is fantastic, but I am not sure I would sacrifice other areas to keep him.
So, I have 4 High, 4 Medium, and 1 Poor. Hopefully we can keep our players, but we will probably have to draft replacements for players like Whitner, Andy Lee, and possibly Vernon Davis. If you were the GM for the 49ers, where would you focus on spending your money?
[ Edited by fryet on Feb 8, 2013 at 10:41 PM ]